I'd like your help to tell this story.
Those of you on this side – whenever I mention sheep, could you say ”baaaaah” loudly? OK? Shall we try? Sheep! Excellent!
And you on this side, when I say cow or cows, can you ”mooooo” really loudly? Let's try: Cow! Brilliant!
And you children in the choir, who sing so prettily for us, can I ask you too a favor? When I mention angel or angels, can you sing ”aaaaaaaah”, just like an angelic choir? Testing: angel! Wow. Thanks!
And finally, something for us all together. I will say star at one point. Can you then put your hands up in the air, all of you, and twinkle with your fingers, like this? Let's try it: star! Cool! Very, very good.
Then, let's tell this story!
Bethlehem was absolutely packed full with people. There were people sleeping everywhere. The inns were full. The hotels had been completely booked for months. Everyone who knew anyone in Bethlehem had arranged to stay in their homes, sleeping in livingrooms, on floors, in kitchens, terraces and even hallways. Even the good places outdoors were occupied, and visitors slept under trees and bushes.
Even the stables were full. And in one specific stable the most important thing in history was about to happen.
In that stable, there might have been a couple of horses and donkeys. Some that belonged there, and some that belonged to visitors. There probably lived some hens, and of course cows! (mooooooo) The cows (mooooo) probably lived there all the time, but most of the animals were strangers to each other. Maybe they were standing there in silence, glaring at each other, wondering who the others were. The horses munched their hay and made an effort not to talk to the cows (mooooo), the donkeys flapped their ears and disturbed the hens that tried to sleep. The atmosphere was kind of tense.
And suddenly, the door to the stable opened, and two humans and a donkey entered. The donkeys refused stubbornly, 'cause donkeys are stubborn, to make room for the new donkey, so she had to stand with the cows (mooooooo). The hens flapped their wings in a displeased manner, and the horses kept really quiet, hoping no one would move them.
The humans sat down in the hay among the cows (mooooooo). And there, in the middle of the night, it happened. A child was born, right there among the hay and straw. The hens stopped cackling. The donkeys all of a sudden found they had room for more, and the horses put their soft muzzles down to smell the little baby. And the cows (moooo) backed away from their crib so that the baby could have somewhere to sleep. The stable was at peace.
Outside Bethlehem, there were not nearly as many people. Maybe the shepherds that were huddling there on the field wished to be with all the others in the warmth. Maybe they had already been taxed, maybe they didn't count. In any case, they were alone with their sheep (baaaaah) in the dark and cold. They sat around the fire, and the sheep (baaaaah) lay around them, not sharing their body heat.
But all of a sudden, the sky was full of angels (aaaah). The sheep (baaaah) must have been as scared as the shepherds. The darkness gave way for light, the silence and baahing of the sheep (baaaah) – yeah, just like that, gave way to the song of the angels (aaaaaaaah). And right there they got the message from the angel (aaaaaaaah), and decided to go into Bethlehem, sheep (baaaaah) and all.
Imagine them bustling though the narrow streets of Bethlehem, looking for the stable the angels (aaaah) had been talking about.
The little stable was filled to bursting. There were donkeys, cows (moooooo), hens, sheep (baaaaaah), horses, people and angels (aaaaaah). And in the middle of it all a baby was sleeping, in spite of all the noise. A baby that gave them all hope. Maybe the sheep (baaaaah) dreamed of juicy leaves, maybe the cows (moooo) dreamed of green pastures, maybe the angels (aaaaah) dreamed of eternal song, maybe the humans dreamed of peace.
But the child, that made Gods dream of love and faith real, slept. The animals hushed. And over them all the star (twinkle) shone, as a sign telling everyone that now there was light in the darkness, now there was hope and faith in the future. Now it was clear that God was in the midst of creation, and drew it back through love. And the cows (moooooo), and the sheep (baaaaah) and all of the others slept.