The Gift of the Tabby: A Christmas Story

There was no snow that night in Bethlehem, 2000 years ago. Instead the black velvet skies were filled with a breathtaking array of stars. One star in particular had a startling brilliance and shed its light directly over a small, lowly stable. There within lay a newborn child wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger with his bedding made from the clean sweet grasses provided to feed the animals.

Although that long-ago night was cold, the snug stable was warmed by the body heat of the animals that crowded around the tiny child. From the loft a small cat with gray and black stripes watched the shepherds and wise men who arrived to welcome the child.

As the hour grew late, the visitors departed, leaving the new family alone. Only the animals remained, and were welcomed to approach and sniff the baby. One by one they came forward: the mare, the cow and her calf, the mother goat with her twin babies. Only the small cat maintained her distance.

As the night turned colder, the child cried out, rousing the young mother from her sleep. Trying not to disturb her husband, Mary fed her baby, tended to his clothing, and rocked him in her arms. But he would not be soothed.

An hour passed and still he cried. She laid him on her shoulder and patted his back, and sang softly to him. For a moment he ceased his crying to listen, but soon he again wept. In defeat, his mother laid him again in the manger. “I know you are cold,” she whispered, “but I have nothing more to warm you.”

Hearing this, the gray and black striped cat climbed down from the loft to approach the manger. When the young mother did not shoo her away, the cat climbed the manger to gaze down at the child. After a moment of curious inspection, she crept closer to sniff the baby, and then lay down beside the crying child.

The baby’s flailing arms brushed the cat’s silky soft fur. At his touch, the cat began to purr the song her mother had purred to her. And as she purred, the child ceased to cry. His waving hands brushed again and again against the cat’s soft fur. At last soothed by the cat’s purring, the child slept and the cat curled into a sleepy ball beside him.

Watching her child and the cat cuddle together, Mary’s heart swelled with gratitude and she lay her hand in thanks on the striped cat’s head. “Blessings upon you, dear Tabby, for this sweet gift given to me and my child.” And where she touched the cat’s brow, there appeared an M—the sign of the Madonna’s benediction.

From that day forward, all tabbies are honored with a large “M” on their brow for the great service performed that first Christmas night by their ancestor.

May the peace of that first Christmas be with you and yours as you celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.

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    • Hi Momma Kat! Hi Bear! I think kitties and nativities go hand in paw. What better place to curl up and feel wonderpurr during the Christmas season than in a manger.
      Purrs! Dori

  • Dori, Hermie and Kimberley, what a lovely telling of a story we had not heard before ( the cat bit, obvs!)
    We hope you have a lovely Christmas and we all have a peaceful and positive 2017
    Love from Debbie, Callie and Barney xxx

  • Oh this is wonderful and the BEST telling of that day, and with wise words that are spoken in deeds that go unspoken! Thank you Dori, Hermie and Kimberley, for bringing us us such a wonderful Christmas and a Wonderpurr year! purrs ERin & peep #1

  • dori….we loves thiz storee; R gram paw dude waz blessed with de M on hiz head all sew ~~~~~~~~~ heerz two a merry Christmas anda happee one anda blessed one two each N all …..see ya ina few ☺☺☺☺♥♥♥♥♥

    • We have… um… *counts on toes* four tabbies at my house. Dori. Jack. Chauncie Marie and… um. Oh! Frank! Peaches is a torbi, half tortoishel and half tabby. Merry Christmas Trout Tabbies!

  • Thank you for telling this story. It’s one of my favorite Christmas stories. I heard it a little bit different, But it’s a great story. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    Love,c Angel Dusty, BooBoo & Prissy

  • Upon the brow of most all cats, the faint touch of Mary is seen. Even on our panfur baby Abby, she shows her stripes (in the right lighting) and is there for a comforting and healing purr for those in need. May the Lord God who gave us Emmanuel Christ our Savior bless each of us this season with the love that is beyond all of our comprehension and give us peace and comfort as we go into the new year may each of you be blessed this wonderful Christmas season and receive a prosperous New Year. – Angel Wills, Katie Abigail and Mom Jeannie

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