Christmas Story For Dog Lovers

          Long ago in  the deepest of winters  all of the animals  on Earth
          were abuzz with  the news. "HE  IS BORN! HE  IS BORN!" cried  the
          snowy owl. "Come  one and all, rejoice!" roared  the mighty lion.
          "Bring  gifts to the  new King!" The forest  grew bright with the
          din  of excitement. Every creature  was running towards the star.
          The  noise was so loud and joyful that it traveled distant lands.
          In a quiet glen, under a bramble bush, a small lonely  dog raised
          his head  from his  slumber and  heard the  sounds from  afar. He
          raised his little  head and wondered. Slowly he  raised his tired
          body and sniffed  the air. He knew  something was amiss -  but he
          knew not what. A voice ever so sweet was singing in the distance,
          this  he could  hear. The words  were not  at all clear,  but the
          sound  was of  waterfalls,  and  misty  mornings  and  everything
          dear... Eagerly  he followed the  sound and  soon saw a  star. It
          shone so  brightly his little  eyes watered. What was  this shiny
          thing  that happily glowed?  What could  be happening  that would
          bring  about such a lovely  sight? His little  legs beat the path
          for many days. He became tired and hungry but still he walked on.
          He had to follow the sound of that voice. The voice that reminded
          him of warmer and kinder times. He had to follow the light of the
          star. The star told him of happy things to come. At last he  came
          into a clearing  and his eyes beheld a  mystifying sight. Animals
          were everywhere, and each had a precious gift. Some brought shiny
          berries  from the  forest, some  brought  beautiful leaves,  some
          brought twigs from the rarest of  trees and even some brought the
          most precious  wildflowers of the fields. They  were laying these
          gifts at the  entrance of a stable. Above the stable the light of
          the star  twinkled more  brightly than before.  He turned  to the
          deer and asked: "What is all this?  Where have I come?" "You have
          come to see  the new King. He  is Born. Where are  your gifts for
          the child?"  asked the  deer reproachfully. "I  have no  gifts..I
          didn't know..."  said the  lonely little dog  with his  head hung
          low. The deer  sneered and snubbed and quickly  walked away as he
          tossed his head indignantly. The  little dog's body trembled  all
          over,  his little  tail flew  between  his little  legs, and  his
          little head  hung lower than  ever. He was ashamed.  And yet...he
          still wanted to get a little peek at the New King.  Quietly, ever
          so carefully, he  crept over to  the stable. He  was so small  he
          could easily  hide under  the other animals.  Ever so  sleekly he
          crept up to the manger and  peeked inside. "WHO ARE YOU!"  boomed
          the voice of the Lion. "WHY  DO YOU DARE NOT BRING GIFTS  FOR THE
          NEW KING?" and the little dog cowered,  much humbled. He laid his
          little head at  the foot of the  manger and hid his  eyes. He was
          ready to be killed by the Lion, and yet he spoke ever so quietly,
          ever  so meekly,  ever so bravely:  "I have  no gifts, I  have no
          berries, or twigs, or bright flowers of the field...all I have is
          my life  and I will  gladly give that,  for I have  shamed all my
          brethren tonight."  He waited -  with his  eyes closed,  thinking
          that  if he did  die tonight, at  least he would  die beneath the
          cradle of his King.  That's when a warm and gentle  hand was upon
          him. He did not  dare to open his eyes, until  he heard a woman's
          voice speak:  "Do not fear  little one.  You are safe  here. This
          bramble in your fur speaks of the  gift you have brought to him."
          The lonely little dog opened his eyes and looked up at the woman.
          "But  I have no gift to offer,  save for myself, and that is very
          little..."he  shyly protested. The woman smiled and scratched his
          ears. "Little dog, you traveled far to see the King..that is gift
          enough when it comes from your heart. What  gift is more precious
          than one given in innocence and humility? No little one,  you are
          welcome  here."  As she  spoke  she  raised  the little  dog  up.
          "Behold, your King,  the Son of Man.  You shall serve  him well."
          And the  baby smiled. So  it came to  pass and dog  was lonely no
          more. And dog  has served man ever  since, loyal to a  fault, and
          humble he remains. A gift from God  to us, for who, but dog  will
          travel miles without  explanation? Who, but  dog will cower  from
          you even if  he is not wrong?  Who, but dog will  take a scolding
          even  when he is not to blame? Who,  but dog is content to die at
          our feet if he so must? Let us care for it well.
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