In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian
Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on Biblical
principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at
prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments, and a large
orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and
left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage.
They relate the following story in their own words:
It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear,
for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them
about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn,
the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born, and placed in a manger.
Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement
as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools trying to grasp
every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small
pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small
paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored
paper was available in the city.
Following instructions, the children
tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manager for straw. Small
squares of flannel, cut. from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was
throwing away as she left Russia, were used for the baby’s blanket. A
doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United
The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among
them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one
table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had
finished his project. As I looked at the little boy’s manger, I was
startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger.
Manny, my blogger friend and creator of Kairos Now, posted this story on his site yesterday. What an excellent story for Christmastime! (Manny has a new blog now so the following link comes from a source that I found this year…2013)
Here’s how this true Christmas story ends: