Most of us, if we turn on the radio, will hear the tunes of Christmas carols and Christmas songs – some old, some new. There is one Christmas song that my mother used to sing to me as a child. The song is called “Away in a Manger.” One of the verses reads, “the cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes, but little Lord Jesus no crying He makes.” Our cattle here at the ranch are long gone, having been shipped months ago. But I wonder, if we still had cattle this time of year, would we have made room for a mother in labor if she and her husbandappeared at the ranch searching for a warm place to deliver their child?

They most likely would not come on a donkey way out, but what if they drove up in a small car that was way past its prime? Would we make room? Well, of course, if such were to occur, we certainly would make room. Our hospital is plenty warm,and we have blankets and horse pads for the birth. But what would we have for him to rest in? There is nothing suitable that we have that I can think of except one of our galvanized steel water troughs that are stored for the winter. Yes, horses have drunk out of them, but they are cleaned in the fall. We could put blankets in it that are soft and warm. The troughs are also heavy, so there would be no danger that the Christ child would fall out. How marvelous it would be to peer into that trough of steel and see the Son of God. Would he be glowing? Would angels be singing in our old, dusty indoor? Would legions of angels be walking in the meadow singing, “Glory to God in the highest. Peace on earth and good will to men.” Would their glow be seen by our neighbors a few miles away?

And then there is this question: what could we give that is fit for a king – the savior of the world? I search in my mind what we could give from our ranch that is of great worth. Could we give him one of our saddles? No, he is way too small for that. Could we give him a horse? Well, He would not need one for a long, long time. Here on the ranch, we don’t have gold, frankincense or myrrh. What we do have is devotion – devotion to our horses, devotion to our land, devotion to our guests. It is the foundation of what we are about here at McGinnis. Yes! Yes! We could give him our devotion! Devotion that would not last for a few days, but for a lifetime.

As I sit here writing down my thoughts listening to the crackle of our wood stove and instrumental Christmas music, I think about the presence of God at the ranch where there is not much to break the silence, except for a horse squeal now and again and the sound of coyotes in the middle of the night. It is a beautiful place, a peaceful place. A place where stars gleam. It would be a good place for the savior of the world to be born. His arrival would be sacred out here.

I like what CS Lewis once said: “Once in our world, a stable had something in It that was bigger than our whole world.”