by Susan K. Stewart
For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 ESV
In the sea of children’s Christmas shows with the likes of Rudolph, Frosty, and the Grinch, the tale of Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey never seems to make it to the must-see list of children’s Christmas movies.
The story is simple: Nestor is different—he has unusually long ears, even for a donkey. As an oddling, Nestor is teased and ultimately rejected. Even his owner throws him out of the stable, leaving him to die in a snowstorm. Eventually, through a series of miraculous events, Nester becomes the donkey that Mary rides on to Bethlehem.
The Bible is full of misfits: those who don’t quite belong. David, the boy who was too small for Saul’s army. Rahab was a prostitute. Deborah, a woman who chosen by God to be a judge. Zacchaeus, a short tax collector. Each of these oddballs had a purpose in God’s plan and was used by God in unique ways.
Is it their uniqueness that makes them better suited for God’s work? I think God uses the misfits, because they don’t fit in.
Here’s the thing: Each of us relates to being a misfit. I doubt there are many readers who are thinking, “That’s not me. I’m not the odd one out.” We all can relate to the long-eared donkey. We all can relate to rejection. We all think we aren’t of much value to God’s kingdom.
We all think we’re Nestor.
David became king. Rahab was an ancestor of Jesus. Deborah led an army to victory over an oppressor (unheard of in her culture). Zaccheaus, a reviled sinner, hosted a party for Jesus. Even children were seen as little value. When parents began bringing their children to Jesus, the disciples shooed them away. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me … for to such belong the kingdom of heaven” (Mark 10:14 ESV).
Let’s face it. In the culture that Jesus was born into, his birth was surrounded by rumor and tales of infidelity. Conceived out of wedlock, he, too, may have been considered a misfit. We do know that ultimately he was rejected by nearly all.
God uses the misfits, the ugly ducklings, to further his kingdom. Things like our standing in society, the size of our bank accounts, or the brand name of our clothes. He doesn’t care about extra-long ears, either. What he cares about is us. He has a purpose for us. It may not be to carry the mother of the Savior, but he wants to use us to build his kingdom.
We actually don’t know if Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem, even though tradition says she did. We do know the first announcement of the birth went not to accepted society, but the outcasts—shepherds. God used these dirty, smelly men who lived in the fields to spread his message of joy and peace—the arrival of the Messiah (Luke 2:8-10).
As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we should put aside our visions of a perfect holiday with a balanced Christmas tree and golden turkey for dinner. Look at the misfits around us—look at ourselves. Have a misfit holiday with Jesus at the center.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the misfits you bring to our lives. Thank you for teaching us you have a plan for us misfits to further your kingdom.
(Adapted from Donkey Devos: Listen When God Speaks copyright 2021)
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Susan K. Stewart didn’t expect to become a “donkey whisper.” One day God put her in a herd of donkeys, and it was love at first bray. Susan and her husband Bob live in Central Texas with their three dogs, three cats, numerous chickens, and inspiring donkeys. They have three children and six outstanding grandchildren. Susan’s book, Formatting e-Books for Writers, was originally released in March 2016 and received an AWSA Silver Scroll Merit Award (2016). Susan’s other books include Science in the Kitchen and Preschool: At What Cost?
Her devotional, Donkey Devos: Listen When God Speaks, was released in July 2021.She has been a guest writer for Upgrade with Dawn (Dawn Wilson), Homeschool with Heart, and ChristineLindsey.org. Susan’s passion is to inspire readers with practical, real-world solutions and a few donkey stories.
Join the conversation: Do you feel like you are a misfit? How has God made you uniquely able to serve him?