After making this exclamation, Othniel took off again in a flurry of feathers, circling around the roof and landing again.
Chava in an agitated voice boomed , “Could you please stop with the aerial acrobatics and tell us about this baby?”
“Oh yes, of course, “ replied Othniel. “I am just beside myself in wonder and amazement. As soon as I looked upon the child, I knew, yet I don’t know how except that it must be by divine revelation. It sounds outlandish, but that baby that is lying there is the God that created me! Somehow, when I looked at his face I just knew it. God has come to earth in a human form, although I’m not sure why.”
As soon as Othniel made his startling proclamation, a bright star suddenly appeared that lit up the sky, and light began filtering into the barn. If that wasn’t strange enough the doors to every animal stall began to open as though guided by invisible hands.
“Chava,” exclaimed Adonijah excitedly, “You are not going to believe this but the door to my stall just opened of its own accord!
“Adonijah, I’m a believer!” bellowed Chava. “The same thing has happened here. What Othniel has said must be true. What are we waiting for? Let’s go see the God baby!”
Adonijah and Chava then rushed out of their stalls, followed by the rest of the barn animals who also had been liberated from their nooks. They quickly rounded the corner and came to the place where Mary and Yosef dwelt and the young child, who had been placed in Tikvah’s feeding trough. Mary and Yosef did not notice their presence at first, because they were lost in the glory of beholding this new little life with which they had been blessed. Mary looked up toward the barn roof and spoke to her husband.
“Yosef, does it seem to have become lighter in this barn?” Yosef was about to answer when Mary clutched her heart, pointed and said, “Yosef, look!”
There stood a group of animals about ten feet away from them. There were cows, donkeys, several sheep and baby lambs and even an owl, which was gracefully perched on a beam.
“Fear not, Mary,” replied Yosef tenderly, “Somehow these animals know that something special has happened here and that this is not an ordinary baby. I’ve always felt that animals can sometimes sense things that humans are slow to pick up. The animals will do us no harm.”
“But love,” answered Mary, “How did they all get out of their stalls? There is nobody else in this barn besides you and me.”
“The same One who has caused this heavenly light to shine into the barn, must have chosen to also loose these animals from their dwelling places,” answered Yosef.
While this discourse took place between husband and wife, there was also communication going on between the animals.
Chava, always the outspoken one, questioned Othniel. “Oh wise owl, I don’t understand why the God of the universe would choose to be born here, in our humble stable. Wouldn’t a palace be more fitting as a birthplace, and why aren’t there kings and queens and dignitaries to come and pay homage to their Maker?”
After a thoughtful pause, Othniel replied, “These are deep and noble questions, dear Chava. I’m afraid I can only offer my limited opinion. God is sovereign and will do as He pleases and knows is best. Perhaps the mode of coming as a baby would not seem threatening to others. Everybody seems to love babies. You know how we animals dote over our young ones. It could be there are no dignitaries or important people here because they are too wrapped up in their own meager kingdoms to notice God coming to earth in such an unpredictable way. But we are here, and we know the identity of this Babe lying in a manger. For that reason, we should not hold our peace, but we should glorify this great God who has come to visit our lowly stable.”
Having spoken these words, Othniel lifted his wings in flight, and as he began to soar through the barn, the spirit of prophesy came upon him as he roared,
“Cry out and shout, thou inhabitants of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee!”
Upon hearing this proclamation, the animals began to worship in the only way that they knew how. The cows bellowed and mooed, donkeys brayed, sheep bleated and the wise old owl hooted until he was hoarse.
As Yosef, listened to the orchestra of animals, he broke out in a wide grin as he turned to Mary and said, “Beloved, these animals recognize who the Babe is, God manifested in the flesh. They cannot help but praise Him. Oh, this is a holy night, but it definitely will not be a silent one!”