That Christmas Eve the birth was hard, no refuge from the snow.
The cold wind howled just like a woman’s scream.
The storm had dulled his senses to the point where time slowed down.
He seemed to move as if trapped in a dream.

A piece of rope around the hooves, a slow and steady pull.
He felt the cow 's last breath and knew she'd passed.
He knew to give this calf even the slimmest chance at life,
his fading strength would somehow have to last.

With one last pull the deed was done. He wrapped the blanket tight.
He grabbed  the newborn calf and held it near.
Then after what seemed much too long, he saw the breath of life
and heard the newborn’s heartbeat in his ear.

No time to lose, the storm grew ever stronger in the night!
With babe in hand he mounted his strong bay.
His dog barked once, then once again and dashed off through the white,
as if to say, “Come on. I’ll lead the way”

And down they headed from that pasture cloaked in snow and ice.
One babe, one dog, one horse, one fearless man.
The wind and snow conspired to make their progress far too slow.
The cowboy prayed as only cowboys can.

And as the first glow of the sun came faintly from the east
the ranch house beckoned dimly in the gloom.
So near that he could almost hear the children’s shouts of joy
when he would laugh and burst in to the room.

At last they made the barn and stood in silence in the dark.
The bay stood still and calmly ate his grain.
He watched the dog dash to the house, announcing their return.
His hands were numb, his body wracked with pain.

“Too cold out here for you my friend” he told the newborn babe.
Looks like this day you’ll spend some time inside.
His family watched as he laid the calf down gently by the fire.
And then said Merry Christmas with some pride.

He was a simple rancher, not a wealthy one by far.
His time on earth was filled with work and strife.
But that one Christmas he was proud to risk all that he had
to do his best to give the gift of life.

And as the storm abated and the howling wind grew still
the family went to bed but he....not yet.
He gazed upon the brilliant stars and he knew this Christmas day
would be one that they would not soon  forget.
Bethlehem Ranch