The Russian Boy and the Babe in the Manger-Unproven!
Summary of eRumor:
An inspirational story about orphans in Russia who heard the Christmas story for the first time from two Americans who were guest teachers. The children were given a Christmas craft project to make a manger from small pieces of cardboard then the baby Jesus from a piece of felt. One little boy had two babies in the manger. He said one of them was Jesus and the other was he. When asked, the boy related his own version of the Christmas story which included Jesus inviting him to stay in the manger too since he didn’t have a family. He also said it was his gift to the baby Jesus, to be with him in the manger and help keep in warm.
We have not found the source for this story. It is true that after the fall of Communism, the Russian government welcomed many American Christians to be guest teachers in Russian schools and to help restore a respect for morals and ethics.
Two Babies in a Manger
[Author Unknown] 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
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 manger 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
States. 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, was
startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called
for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the
Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger
scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a
young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the
happenings accurately — until he came to the part where Mary put the
baby Jesus in the manger. Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his
own ending to the story as he said, “And when Mary laid the baby in the
manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay.
I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don’t have any
place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with Him. But I told him
I couldn’t, because I didn’t have a gift to give Him like everybody else
did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I
had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept Him
warm, that would be a good gift. “So I asked Jesus, ‘If I keep you warm,
will that be a good enough gift?’ And Jesus told me, ‘If you keep Me
warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave Me.’
So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and He told me I
could stay with Him — for always.” As little Misha finished his story,
his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks.
Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his
shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found
someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay
with him — for always!
And the Americans? They had learned the lesson they had come there to
teach — that it is not what you have in your life, but WHO you have in
your life that really counts. We all should give thanks for the people
that “keep us warm” in life; and for all of God’s many blessings to us:
freedom from want, life, love, togetherness, and for the enduring love
of Jesus Christ, the one person who keeps us warm and safe for always.