Sunday Inspiration – Christmas Birds

Two-barred Crossbill (Loxia leucoptera)(White-winged) by Raymond Barlow

Two-barred Crossbill (Loxia leucoptera)(White-winged) by Raymond Barlow

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. (Matthew 2:1-2 KJV)

Today I am doing something a little different. Instead of a song, there is a short Christmas message from my pastor. This was given during the Camel Lot Christmas Musical that we had in 2012. It applies for today, as well. Listen to Pastor Nathan Osborne III as you watch some of the Lord Jesus Christ’s creation among the birds.

The birth of the Jesus, His death on the cross and His resurrection are all a part of Christmas.

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Our Pastor at the Christmas Camel Lot Musical – 2012

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(Started adding Christmas colored birds, but then added newer photos from this year.)

Sunday Inspirations

Some Previous Christmas Articles

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Birds In Christmas Hymns – The Worcester Christmas Carol

White-browed Conebill (Conirostrum ferrugineiventre) ©WikiC

White-browed Conebill (Conirostrum ferrugineiventre) ©WikiC

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14 KJV)

Words & Music by Will­iam H. Ha­ver­gal (1793-1870), alt.

Birds in Christmas Hymns

Birds in Christmas Hymns

The Worcester Christmas Carol

How grand and how bright
That wonderful night,
When angels to Bethlehem came!
They burst forth like fires,
They struck their gold lyres,
And mingled their song with the flame.

The shepherds were mazed,
The pretty lambs gazed
At darkness thus turned into light:
No voice was there heard
From man, beast or bird,
So sudden and solemn the sight.

And then, when the sound reechoed around,
The hills and the dales all awoke:
The moon and the stars
Stopped their fiery cars,
And listened while Gabriel spoke:

I bring you, said he,
From the glorious Three,
Good tidings to gladden mankind;
The Savior is born,
But He lies forlorn
In a manger, as soon you will find.

At mention of this,
(The source of all bliss,)
The angels sang loudly and long;
The soared to the sky,
Beyond mortal eye,
But left us the words of their song:

All glory to God,
Who laid by His rod,
To smile on the world through His Son:
And peace be on earth,
For this wonderful birth
Wonderful conquests has won;

And good will to man,
Though his life’s a span,
And his thoughts so evil and wrong;
Then pray, Christians, pray;
But let Christmas day
Have your sweetest and holiest song.

Here are Ha­ver­gal’s orig­in­al lyr­ics for stan­zas where, due to ir­re­gu­lar­i­ties in me­ter, they do not ful­ly fit the mu­sic:

I bring you, said he,
From the glorious Three,
Good tidings to gladden mankind;
The Savior is born,
But He lies all forlorn
In a manger, as soon you will find.

All glory to God,
Who laid by His rod,
To smile on the world through His Son:
And peace be on earth,
For this wonderful birth
Most wonderful conquests has won;

And good will to man,
Though his life’s but a span,
And his thoughts so evil and wrong;
Then pray, Christians, pray;
But let Christmas day
Have your sweetest and holiest song.

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) by Kent Nickell

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) by Kent Nickell

Will­iam H. Ha­ver­gal (1793-1870) – The epitaph on Havergal’s white mar­ble tomb reads:

The Rev. William Henry Havergal, M.S.,
Vi­car of Shareshill and Hon. Canon of Worcester Ca­thed­ral.
Died at Leam­ing­ton, 19th Ap­ril 1870, aged 77.
Cur­ate 7, and Rec­tor 13 years, of this par­ish, 1822 to 1843.
A faith­ful min­is­ter in the Lord (Eph. Vi. 21).

Havergal was ed­u­cat­ed at Mer­chant Tay­lors School St. Ed­mund’s Hall, Ox­ford (BA 1815, MA 1819). He was or­dained a dea­con in 1816, and priest in 1817. He held three rec­to­rships: Ast­ley, Wor­ces­ter­shire (1829); St. Ni­cho­las, Wor­ces­ter (1842); and Shares­hill, near Wol­ver­hamp­tom (1860). Hymn­ist Franc­es Ha­ver­gal was his daug­hter.
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More Birds in Hymns

See ~ Wordless Birds

Most information from The Cyber HymnalThe Worcester Christmas Carol

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Birds In Christmas Hymns – The Friendly Beasts

Baudet Donkey - Shaky and Brown

Baudet Donkey – Shaky and Brown

So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:6-7 NKJV)

Words: Un­known au­thor, 12th Cen­tu­ry; trans­lat­ed from French to Engl­ish by an anon­y­mous trans­lat­or.

Music: Or­i­ent­is Par­ti­bus, med­ie­val French mel­o­dy

Birds in Christmas Hymns

Birds in Christmas Hymns

The Friendly Beasts

Jesus, our Brother, strong and good,
Was humbly born in a stable rude,
And the friendly beasts around Him stood,
Jesus, our Brother, strong and good.

“I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown,
“I carried His mother uphill and down,
I carried His mother to Bethlehem town;
I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown.

“I,” said the cow, all white and red,
“I gave Him my manger for His bed,
I gave Him hay to pillow His head;
I,” said the cow, all white and red.

“I,” said the sheep with curly horn,
“I gave Him my wool for His blanket warm,
He wore my coat on Christmas morn;
I,” said the sheep with curly horn.

“I,” said the dove, from the rafters high,
“I cooed Him to sleep that He should not cry,
We cooed Him to sleep, my mate and I;
I,” said the dove, from the rafters high.

Thus all the beasts, by some good spell,
In the stable dark were glad to tell
Of the gifts they gave Emmanuel,
The gifts they gave Emmanuel.

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Quy Tran

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Quy Tran

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More Birds in Hymns

See ~ Wordless Birds

Most information from The Cyber HymnalThe Friendly Beasts

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Birds of the Bible – At the Manger

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) by Reinier

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) by Reinier

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7 NKJV)

Laughing Dove (Stigmatopelia senegalensis) by Nikhil

Laughing Dove (Stigmatopelia senegalensis) by Nikhil

Most Christians know the passage in Luke 2 about the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Many others have heard that passage read each Christmas. The birth of Jesus, who was born to die. “Although our first picture of Jesus is as a baby in a manger, it must not be our last. The Christ child in the manger is the subject of a beautiful Christmas scene, but we must not leave him there. This tiny, helpless baby lived an amazing life, died for us, ascended to heaven, and will return to earth as King of kings. Christ will rule the world and judge all people according to their decisions about him. Do you still picture Jesus as a baby in a manger—or is he your Lord? Make sure you don’t underestimate Jesus. Let him grow up in your life.” (Life Application Study Bible)

Joseph and Mary were not so poor that they could not afford a room at the end, but “there was no room for them in the inn.” Because of the registrations going on, each had to show up in their own city. According to the Jewish mode of registration the people would be enrolled by tribe, families or clans, and households. “But David occasionally went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.” (1 Samuel 17:15 NKJV).

Micah prophesied in Micah 5:2:

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

“This mention of the manger is the basis for the traditional belief that Jesus was born in a stable. Stables were often caves with feeding troughs (mangers) carved into the rock walls. Despite popular Christmas card pictures, the surroundings were dark and dirty. This was not the atmosphere the Jews expected as the birthplace of the Messiah-King. They thought their promised Messiah would be born in royal surroundings. We should not limit God by our expectations. He is at work wherever he is needed in our sin-darkened and dirty world.” (Life Application Study Bible)

Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis) by Nikhil Devasar

Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis) by Nikhil Devasar

All of the above was to set the location for the manger and why in my imagination, I believe birds would have been around the manger. There are no verses in the Bible to show there were birds there, nor are there any to show that lambs, cows, or horse were there either, as depicted in our Christmas scenes. So, here is what birds I think may have been there at Jesus’ birth.

Doves – “You who dwell in Moab, Leave the cities and dwell in the rock, And be like the dove which makes her nest In the sides of the cave’s mouth.” (Jeremiah 48:28 NKJV)

Turtledoves – The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove Is heard in our land.” (Song of Solomon 2:12 NKJV)

Sparrows and Swallows- “How lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young— Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God.” (Psalms 84:1-3 NKJV) If they wanted to be at the altars or house of God, then surely, they wanted to be near their Creator.

Chickens and Roosters by Maji

Chickens and Roosters by Maji

Chickens and Roosters – “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Matthew 23:37 NKJV) and Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” (Matthew 26:34 NKJV) Cave or Stable, there had to be Chickens, Hens, and Roosters.

Ravens – Who provides food for the raven, When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food? (Job 38:41 NKJV) They wanted to be near the One who has been feeding them.

Brown-necked Raven of Israel

Brown-necked Raven, Israel

I would think, in my “sanctified imagination,” that since the Lord created everything, birds included, that they might have been eager to see their Creator. Many humans failed to recognize Him while He was on earth, but I think the critters knew who He was. For example, the un-ridden donkey the Lord rode on. There is no report of it trying to buck or misbehave. It knew!

There are more kinds of birds that might have been there, but I will leave those to your imagination. Have a Merry Christmas as you consider the true meaning of the Lord’s birth.


Produced by Sean Fielder and our Pastor Nate Osborne.

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