For many years now Albert the donkey has been going to my church on Christmas eve. Maybe I shouldn’t call it my church, as I go to it about as often as Albert does. Nevertheless, year after year my parents, Alan and Wendy get the old fellow ready and bring him down to the place of worship in a horse trailer so he can participate in the story of the nativity. The parishoners seem to get a big kick out of seeing Joseph bringing Mary through church on the back of a real live donkey.
So did I. At first. The thing is I am always looking for ways to mix things up a little. If it were up to me I’d shake up the establishment and give people something else to talk about on Christmas morning. For instance, what if Albert decided to take the night off and we brought down Dad’s llama Lucky instead? They could change the story a little and say what a great carpenter Joseph was but animal husbandry wasn’t one of his strong suits and wound up with the llama in a bad trade. Or it was a particularly cold year in Bethlehem and he decided to make Mary a llama hair sweater while they were hanging out in the manger. Whatever the reason, I’m pretty sure the crowd would jump out of their seats when Mary came by hanging on for dear life on the back of a llama with a bit of an attitude problem.
Better yet, I’d really like to perk Albert up a bit. He’s getting old and complacent and always ambles through church like he’s in no particular hurry, putting Mary and Joseph at ease. That’s no fun. For a treat before the service, I’d love to give him a big steaming cup of coffee with lots of icing sugar. Then watch him gallop down the aisle like a thoroughbred at the Kentucky Derby. Maybe he’d jump over a couple of pews and skim a few old ladies’ hats, then land in the middle of the nativity scene and rattle off a few hee haws that usually causes him some downright nasty flatulence. Don’t believe me? You should hear the racket when he starts braying at something in the pasture. He backfires like an old ford…
I guess I won’t soup him up before the service. I’d never hear the end of it. However, if some Christmas miracle was to occur and he went banannas all on his own, I’d have a different outlook on the 25th. You could throw away my presents, burn down the Christmas tree and blacken the turkey like it was cooked with an acceteline torch. It wouldn’t matter. Watching Albert jumping into the choir section like he was at an equestrian event would make it all worth while. I wouldn’t need anything else for Christmas. Come on old boy, surprise me!