Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas is for Saving Lives

If you have ever watched the TV show Grey's Anatomy, you know every show begins with Dr. Derek Shepherd's quote: "It's a beautiful day to save lives". 

On Christmas, very few American's are having to report to work (which - by the way I commend; I don't believe stores should be open on Christmas). But, there are some folks who are on duty, or on at least 'on call'. Including doctors, firemen, police officers, and especially our military men and women who are either based at home or over seas fighting for our freedom. To those: I say thank you.

Now, when most people think of "saving lives", the doctor, the paramedic, the fireman may come to mind. But alas - there remains one more. The American farmer. 

You see folks, as I eluded to in previous blog posts, farming never ends. Yes, even on Christmas there are babies being born, cows needing fed, and lives that sometimes need saving. This Christmas morning was no exception. After our family opened presents from Santa (never stop believing folks) my Dad headed out on this beautiful 60 degree Texas day to check cows. 

His report was quite shocking: EIGHT babies born. Which actually became nine before the day was up. Now, on our farm, we have three separate pens: dairy cows, dry cows, and first-calf heifers. I'll explain this in more detail in a later blog, but for right now, the moral of the story is: calves are born in pastures. Then, after a few hours, our family will go out, and walk the momma and baby up to the milk barn where we can give the momma and baby special shots to make sure neither of them get sick. Just like a human baby would get shots after they are born!

So, after lunch, my Dad and I headed out to round up all 18 head (mommas and babies both) and walk them up to the barn. Don't get us wrong - we were very glad to do it! If babies are born on a warm day - we're rejoicing, even if it is Christmas.

Here is where our day began. This momma didn't have twins, she was just guarding over both the babies. The other momma is just outside of the picture.
Bare with me folks - I'm trying to snap pictures and navigate a gator at the same time. This is of my Dad (who has been dairying since 1984) starting to walk everyone to the barn.

The milk barn is about half a mile from the pasture. It's not a long walk, but when you're only 12 hours old, hey, a ride is helpful! Most of the babies ended up in my lap for the walk to the barn.

Here is my Dad unloading a heifer (female) calf at the barn.

This little guy said "Oh no - I'm too tired to do anything" this was #9, so he was born about 2 hours prior to this picture. He still gets to stay with his momma, we just transported them to a barn where they could be in a pen by themselves.

So, you may ask: "why would you ever want to do this?" I'll agree, there are times when I too would love to stay at home, eat chocolate, and watch the John Wayne Christmas special on TV. But then, I remember I wouldn't get to see sights like these: I wouldn't get to be a part of these nine lives today, moving them from pasture to barn, and giving them vaccinations that will saves their precious lives.

This little girl was quite the snuggler! She laid her head on my lap during the short drive and was very sweet.

I'm 99.8% certain that calves are born with unique personalities. It's so funny to watch them when they are first born. This bull calf was just discovering his legs - he was attempting to buck and kick around in the sunshine.

And then my favorite sight of the day - the sun setting behind the barn and a newborn baby. God just loves to make days perfect. Merry Christmas to us!

Yes, folks, we had a wonderful Christmas day in Texas. We opened Christmas presents, played with baby calves, and enjoyed a great meal as family.

But, there's one more thing. You see, it wasn't just us that saved little newborn lives today. Two thousand years ago, a Savior was sent to saves lives too. But, it was a whole lot more than just pastures, barns, and milk. Out of a barn, out of a manger came the One sent to save the world from sin.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
-Ephesians 2:8-10

Two thousand years ago God blessed us with the greatest Christmas gift ever, his son Jesus Christ. He was a baby sent to save lives, and for that, we celebrate on this beautiful Christmas day.

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