Have you ever wondered why tabby cats have that distinctive 'M' on their forehead?
On that night so long ago Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem searching, without luck, for a place to spend the night. Mary was very pregnant and knew her time was close, but alas, all the Inns were full. Finally a kindly innkeeper offered them the use of his stable so they could have shelter through the cold night.
As she suspected she would, Mary gave birth that night. Although the stable offered shelter from the worst of the night it was still a drafty place and despite being swaddled and in the manger, baby Jesus began to shiver from the wind creeping in through the cracks in the walls.
Mary placed blankets over his little body but he continued to shiver.
As is the case with so many new mothers Mary wasn’t sure what else to do. She spoke softly to the newborn baby, “I don’t know what to do. I thought you were hungry, so I fed you. I thought you were wet, so I changed you. I thought you were cold, so I wrapped another blanket around you.” Mary turned to the animals in the stable and beckoned them to move closer to her baby so their body heat would warm Jesus. They surrounded him, but the child continued to shiver. She rocked the baby while Joseph added more clean hay to the manger, but the baby continued to cry in discomfort.
A small tabby cat, who herself had given birth and raised a litter in this very stable, knew what needed to be done. When Mary gently placed her child back into the manger, the tabby cat jumped into the makeshift cradle, cuddled in closely next to the child and began to purr. It was the sweetest lullaby and the baby stopped crying and fell into a comfortable sleep.
To show her gratitude to the cat Mary reached into the manger and stroked the little cat’s head. She drew her finger over its forehead in the shape of her own initial – the letter “M”. From that day forward tabby cats would forever have an “M” on the foreheads to remind the world of how one of their kind had comforted the newborn baby Jesus.