Sunday, 5 December 2010

A Time for Hope, the Story of Two Babies in a Manger

I love stories..real & encouraging ones especially. A story can refresh your perspective, touch your heart, lift your spirits, & inspire a new helpful action or habit. They can be passed on to anyone, anywhere at any time. For the past decade I have been sharing inspiring stories with our dear listeners here in Hawke's Bay; those who check in to the daily phone news service for the blind..been running a good 30 years now & invaluable to those who cannot read or hold a newspaper. I "do" the "inspirational section" which I just love. Through the years I have sourced & read hundreds & hundreds of wonderful stories that never fail to touch my own heart & help to put life in perspective. Most of the inspiration comes in the form of "Chicken Soup" I adore these marvelous books. If you've never heard of them pop in here. I have found so many through our local library & have bought many others secondhand.
My all time favourites are: Chicken Soup for the Couples Soul, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories for a Better World.
My other very special inspirational author is Max Lucado.
Inevitably as I go about finding a story to read to the listeners each Monday I end up in tears & feeling very grateful..these stories just seem to have that impact...a kind of "pausing effect" on the soul.
Several years ago I came across this intensely beautiful story entitled "Two Babies in A Manger" just thought I'd share it with you too.

Two Babies in a Manger

In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments, and a large orphanage. About one hundred boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. They relate the following story in their own words:

It was nearing the holiday season, 1994. Time for our orphans to hear for the first time, the traditional story of Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger.
Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city. Following the instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady threw away as she left Russia, were used for the baby's blankets. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States. The orphans were busy assembling their mangers as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about six years old and had finished his project.
As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young child, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings very accurately, until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger.
Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, 'If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?'
"And Jesus told me, 'If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me.' So I got in the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me that I could stay with him—for always."
As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him—FOR ALWAYS.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8: 38, 39

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    If you're local the Phone News Service number to ring is: 2805201 (just in case you know someone who might benefit from the service : )
I am joining in this week with the lovely concept of " A Pause in Advent" instigated by Floss at Troc, Broc & Recup  do pop in & you'll find links to lots of other thoughtful posts by other's joining in...wonderful!!
Every blessing to you all.



  1. Oh my goodness, I'm crying. Thanks so much.

  2. And sorry, I forgot, you very kindly asked how we are doing following my mum's death. Thanks very much for thinking of us - I don't want to keep going on about it on my blog, but it is lovely to know there are people caring for me and supporting us round the world. I am slowly getting some kind of 'normality' back - at first I had a lot of headaches and a general struggle to cope, although of course this is to be expected so neither I nor anyone else really minded. My dad will be joining us for Christmas in France, which is a great thing to look forward to. He's been caring for my mum (and therefore all but house-bound himself) for over two years, and to see him free to travel again is one positive thing.

  3. That story was a real tear jerker for me! infact I would rather hear that story full of promise, meaning and love any day than the usual tiresome nativity that is churned out in robot fashion all over the uk. This story keeps Jesus alive because it is 'ad lib' - isn't that what he did himself? told stories to touch people with his message? Thankyou for keeping Christmas 'real' for me! Betty (Yappy)

  4. Oh Catherine....!

    HEAVENS....What a way to start my Monday....I have tears pouring down my face making it hard to type....How very SAD for someone so young to feel so abandoned....Yet so touching he was able to drawer comfort from the story of Joseph, Mary & Jesus....

    I wonder if we were to visit with him we'd see he's managed to hold onto the faith he reached out with open arms to embrace as a small child....!

    Have a WONDERFUL week my Friend & THANK YOU for sharing this with us....!

    Cheers from OZ,
    Tamarah :o)

  5. That was so relevant for advent thank you Catherine.
    Misha had faith and believed in the story of Christmas.
    We all need to become like little children again.
    Christmas hugs


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