The ox and the donkey

Have you ever wondered at the icon of the Nativity and why there is an ox and a donkey pictured (there is a bigger meaning than Jesus being born in a stable).

Isaiah 1:3the ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not consider.” (This is part of the scripture reading today from the OCA website which is why I’m posting about it during Lent and not during the Nativity.)

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Now you know.

Last night was Forgiveness vespers. I had to leave early because of a sudden snow storm that was very dense, made up of heavy, wet snow that creates large, reflective snowflakes. The drive home was quite an opportunity for prayer.

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Now, shine light from the street lights, and stop lights, and your own headlights, on all of those flakes and visibility is almost nil. Thank you, Lord for getting me home safe! Your great mercy never ends!

The feeling of going from person to person during the Forgiveness service is almost indescribable. My heart grew warm. All of these people are icons of Christ. On the same boat of Orthodoxy with me, all of use facing east.

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My family, my tribe, my life. I love them all. Orthodoxy is alive. It breaths. We see the people come (babies!) we see them go (funerals, monastic life, etc.) but always we are praying for one another. You KNOW you’re being prayed for. There are people who pray for the catecumens during their daily prayer life away from church service.  The Forgiveness service is humbling, loving, and sets the tone for Lent.


The following is a Russian video on some aspects of Orthodoxy (really any Christian could watch this and learn something). It has English subtitles so pay attention.

May the Lord strengthen us all as we participate in the Lenten struggle! Lord have mercy.

Please pray for me a sinner…


  1. I know how you felt Melissa and this was a good article to bring all of the dots or connections together even metaphorically to me with all those snowflakes! I used to drive some semi’s over the years in many good, bad and ugly weather and I know God got me through all those long trips safe especially one time driving to a UPS hub building and on the way going up and down steep grades on the highway when some big rigs were off the road jackknifed or ran into the ditch and at this one location called purgatory there was no slowing or stopping not even going any faster because any of those would have resulted in the rig I was driving having the same outcome others were having; but on a perfect speed and timing I made it through it all to the destination! God saves us and no matter the outcome it should be and is His will in the end. All glory and praise to Him, and thank Him that you were safely returned home! Your enduring faith made the difference! Amen.

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    1. MelissaBishop says:

      Thank you, Lawrence. I’m glad you made it through ok too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Melissa, same back to you! You know well that as long as we have our genuine faith and trust in Him in the end we always make it; especially to Him! I just spoke with a sister about some events in the news and my Lent Offering blog I wrote the other day, how as usual I prayed to Jesus to help me put what I should in the body of the article, thoughts, feelings, my heart and even the right photos which seem to come along easily. Then today an email notice came to me about the very topic I had been discussing with my sister and lo and behold the photo that came today of our President Trump kind of matches the blog photo of Billy Graham, especially in spirit and intent; again I see this as I mentioned to you today many dots being connected as God sees best in order to reach and help us to see Him and the truth he is revealing over time about our personal journeys in serving Him and our unique part in His plan! I’m going to add this photo at the end of the blog that I wrote, “Will You Follow Me?” with a tiny caption as a post script. Thanks for your help and inspiration today it helped very much! Your reminder of how fragile our lives are at certain moments with so much danger and uncertainly going on around us, can be overwhelming and I know we are blessed when we actually make it through the gauntlet of life here on earth!

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