As we celebrate this most wonderful time of the year, my thoughts focus once again on the true significance of Christmas that has endured through the ages.
We’ve each chosen differing paths through this journey known as life and those choices have profound influences on how we relate to various circumstances.
For example, even though it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, practicing veterinary medicine can pose many personal challenges. Time spent away from family and friends, missed meals and special events can become an occupational hazard of sorts.
Happily though, the rewards of life as a veterinarian far outweigh such times of testing, and I’ve found that attitude can be everything.
For me it is a genuine privilege to help to care for the small creatures in God’s kingdom. The non-judgmental love and loyalty that pets so freely give more than explains the lasting strength of the human/animal bond.
Also, the hugs, kind looks and reassuring pats exchanged between petparents and their pets constantly motivates me to do a good job. I want you to enjoy having your “critters” so you will keep them in your families for a long time!
Another thing that I value about my life as a veterinarian is the perspective it gives me on sharing our world with animals of all kinds.
As a result, I am better able to understand the special dignity that surrounds those animals as they live day to day. There is a true sense of purpose for their being on this earth.
Actually, during this special time of year I am reminded of one particularly meaningful purpose.
While many people might be puzzled by baby Jesus having been born in a lowly stable, I am not.
Perhaps as our civilization grows more and more away from its agricultural roots, it becomes increasingly difficult to understand what life is like in a stable or barn, and that’s really sad.
There are many sounds and smells in such a setting that create a peacefulness that, unfortunately, most people will never experience. Cows chewing contentedly on their cud—the whole herd often in a coordinated rhythm—occasionally stopping to open their mouths long enough to lick their noses.
Stabled horses shifting their weight to sleep more comfortably while standing on their hooves. What seems like an ever-present litter of barn kittens purring lazily against their mama. The unmistakable smell of clean hay permeates the air. Perfect, and all is calm.
Mary and Joseph’s alternative of an overcrowded and noisy inn pales by comparison. Just think of the uncaring, boisterous, even rude people filling those rooms—hardly an appropriate place for the birth of any precious newborn.
As far as I am concerned the tranquility and privacy of a stable filled with trusting and innocent animals provided a room that truly was fit for The King.
May HIS perfect peace be yours this Holiday Season.
Dan Franklin, DVM