Look closer at the long ears in your neighbourhood and you will see that so many of them carry a cross. Why a cross and why the donkey and mule? It all goes back many hundreds of years when the donkey stood by a lifelong friend - Jesus.
The donkey had been with his friend for all his life, he'd been there at his birth and had carried his water as a child. He snuffled him gently when his tears fell, looked on benevolently as the child grew, he offered no words but a depth of undestanding as the wiser, older man grew. If you've ever looked in to the eyes of a donkey you will understand that he looks in to your soul and offers calmness and hope.
Jesus understood the value of the most humble of all animals; the donkey. When Jesus found himself on a trip to Jerusalem he called for his friend the donkey to accompany him, his friend carried him through the streets of Jerusalem, for the donkey is the bringer of peace, in older times his cousin the horse was a bringer of war. On Palm Sunday the donkey carried his friend with ease and all around crowds welcomed Jesus and his donkey.
It was not to last.....
A week later Jesus was ordered crucified. His donkey friend could not understand the evil that men do to each other.... Jesus was to be hung on a cross that he was to carry through the streets past people who had once been his friends, now they were calling for his death.
The little donkey loved his friend Jesus so much and wanted to help bear the load of the heavy cross. As a donkey he was used to bearing heavy loads and the humiliation of the jeers of men, he asked Jesus if he could bear the load with him. Jesus thanked him but said no, this was his cross to bear and he would do so with dignity.
His little donkey friend followed behind watching the jeering people with horror and a tear in his eye, why are humans such strange animals? No other would do such things.
The donkey waited until the crowd had left, he went to his friend and waited with him until he was gone....
Sad and lonely the donkey turned to leave.... the shadow of the cross fell upon his back and shoulders. And where it fell it remained and was passed to all of his kind as a mark of thanks for the loyalty and love of the humblest of all animals, the donkey.