Two years ago I wrote about our Easter Donkeys. This year as Easter approaches, these sweet donkeys have even more meaning to me. I’ve reworked the original story a bit an added in some thoughts on how this symbol of grace, compassion, and kindness touches me today. Happy reading.
Easter is one of our favorite times on the farm. The wildflowers are blooming, spring grasses are coming in, and all of the critters are feeling frisky. In addition, it’s a time to reflect on our faith and God’s grace.
How do donkeys fit into that?
We’ve had our donkeys for nearly seven years. The first year we had them, a friend said to us, “Oh how exciting, you have Jesus donkeys!” We were shocked and wondered what in the world were Jesus donkeys.
A little Googling solves most mysteries these days, and it’s become one of our favorite stories to share at Easter. The legend of the Easter donkey, as interpreted by this farmgirl, goes something like this …
A sweet donkey carried Jesus through town on Palm Sunday. The donkey was in awe of Jesus, most especially his kindness and compassion. One week later, that same little donkey was in the crowd as Jesus was crucified. He couldn’t believe the cruelty and torture that had befallen his new friend.
The donkey was broken hearted. But he loved Jesus and to honor his friend he stayed until the end. As Jesus took his last breath, tears fell from the donkey’s eyes. The skies went dark, and the shadow of the cross fell across the donkey’s back.
Forevermore the donkey would carry the cross as a symbol of his devotion to Jesus and as a message of God’s grace, compassion, and kindness.
Sure enough, our sweet donkeys have a dark brown stripe that goes down their spines and a matching horizontal stripe across their shoulders, forming a beautiful cross.
This cross reminds me of the crosses that we often wear as jewelry or on clothing as a symbol of our own faith. I’m also reminded that in this time of immense turmoil and side taking that God doesn’t choose sides. He loves us all.
Sometimes we’ve used the cross to send a message. To shout our faith from the rooftops. As the animals so often do around the farm, they’ve given me a different perspective. The cross is truly a symbol of sacrifice, grace, and the ultimate compassion.
Now when I wear a cross, I wear it not as a message to all that I am a Christian, but as a personal reminder that I owe my fellow man compassion and kindness, for the ultimate grace was shown to me.
As you celebrate this Easter and spring season, no matter your faith, we wish you comfort and peace. As you think about the symbols that are important to you, may you see them not just for the story that they tell to others, but also for what they say to you.
This Easter Sunday on the farm, we’ll be spending a little extra time with our donkeys. Remembering why our faith is important to us, how grateful we are for the grace we’ve received, and most importantly focusing on the kindness we owe our fellow man.
P.S. – A version of this post was published in The Glen Rose Reporter. This farmgirl is delighted to serve as a community columnist.