#7 in a series
Sheep, cattle and a donkey. Standard farm animals of the day. The sheep in all honesty are dirty, filthy and down right stupid animals. If the manger scene is not just to show us what happened, but also to show what will happen, it is good that the sheep are here. Unless we understand just how filthy and stupid sheep are we will not really understand why Jesus is referred to as the Good Shepherd, and we are the sheep. So yes, we need to have a sheep.
Cattle in the Bible can refer to several animals, even goats, but it generally refers to a beef cow or an ox. It was necessary to have them, even in a poor home, since they were beasts of burden and did work in the fields. They were rarely eaten, they were just to valuable as workers. The cattle would have been very familiar with the yoke. So it is good that they are here. "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. " Matthew 11:29
The donkey, ok, it was probably an ass, the ancestor of what we call a donkey. A rather dumb and stubborn animal that was mostly used by those that could afford little else. He is an animal of low, low esteem. So why is he here? It is because this common, lowly animal would carry Jesus into town on Palm Sunday. How confused the people must have been, expecting a great and powerful warrior and instead see a Prophet riding on a donkey. The shock is close to that of the manger scene. We still do not understand that the King of the Universe expects us to seek peace by riding the donkey instead of power and might.
So, lets feed this group of animals. How about some straw and hay? No not actual straw and hay, it's a pasta dish called Paglia e Fieno.
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/2 pound spinach linguine
1/2 pound regular linguine
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
a little extra cheese for topping
heat a small frying pan and add the butter, oil and garlic. Saute the garlic briefly, but be sure not to burn it. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water with a pinch of salt to a boil and cook both pastas in it. Drain. return the pasta to the pot and toss with the reserved butter and garlic mixeture, the cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Top with the extra cheese and serve.
Super easy and good.
HEY! What about the Camels? Well, I guess they were hanging around after bringing the Three Wise Men. Creatures used for travel, hauling heavy loads for long distance. They were also used for wool, remember John the Baptist came in from the desert wearing a cloak of camel wool. And yes some folks in the middle east still eat camel, can't say that I've ever tried it. What does the camel foretell? I think maybe the preaching ministry of Jesus. "It is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
What should we feed the ship of the desert? It's my understanding that any camel boy than knows what he is doing, always has some dates to give his camels. So let's just go with a nice bowl of dates.