Lessons & Thoughts From the Farm

Easter Donkey – Take 2

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.

My Farmtastic Life - Sweetie Pie the donkey and her Easter Cross
Sweetie Pie shows off her Easter cross – a reminder of grace, compassion, and kindness.

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.

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Easter Donkey

A couple of years ago, I was asked if I would teach children’s Sunday school. An admitted struggler with the word “no,” I reluctantly agreed to teach once a month. You see, while this farm mama has a gift with the four-legged children, I fear I have no such gift with the two-legged variety.

After a couple of Sundays, I quickly learned that a room full of antsy middle schoolers, mostly boys, positively scares the beejeebers out of me. However, my favorite Sunday of all to teach was Palm Sunday. It was when my love of the four-legged got to have a part in my lesson, at least through pictures.

I had heard about the legend of the cross and donkey, and given the beautiful crosses that Sweetie Pie and Mama Rose both wear on there backs, I wanted to know more. So I spent a little time to look it up and research it for the kiddos.

The story goes like this (in a farmgirl’s words) … when Jesus was heralded on Palm Sunday He rode in on the back of a sweet donkey. At that time, the donkey did not have a cross. The little donkey loved Jesus and was so proud to carry his Lord and Savior through the town. A week later, when Jesus was crucified, the donkey was heart broken. He stood in the back of the crowd and watched as his Jesus died, tears falling from his gentle eyes. The donkey could not bear to leave Jesus, so he stayed until the shadow of the cross fell across his back. From that moment on, the donkey carried the cross of Jesus to show his love for his Savior and King. On the third day, when Jesus rose from the dead, the donkey rejoiced and passed his beautiful cross markings on to all those that came after him.

Donkey Photo - Sweetie Pie shoes off her cross markings
Sweetie Pie and Mama Rose are Jesus donkeys. On this Easter weekend they proudly display their crosses.

John 12:12-15 (NIV)

(12) The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.  (13) They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” (14) Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,  (15) Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming seated on a donkey’s colt.”

So on this Easter Sunday, we think about our donkeys and the symbols of Jesus that they carry all year through. We wish you and your family a blessed celebration of the ultimate sacrifice and gift that is Jesus.

P.S. That was my last Sunday to teach and I think it ended on a perfect note.  Teachers, you have my respect and thanks for all you do.  You are truly special, and I don’t know how you do it, but I’m honored for the experience and I hope those kiddos will always remember the donkey and Jesus.

P.PS. Another great story source http://www.mdresort.com/legend-christian-donkey/.