Every Knee Shall Bend~Tanya Hanson

(I’m giving away PDF or e-copies of my two Christmas releases, the inspirational novella Christmas Lights, an installment of my Hearts Crossing Ranch series, and A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe that includes my sweet short story, Every Knee Shall Bend and five other Western romances! Two winners. So please leave a comment and check back tomorrow.)


Since I am a firm believer that animals are righteous, lead us, and help us heal, it is no surprise that both domestic and wild beasts have a special role in my Christmas story, Every Knee Shall Bend. But the story goes deeper than that. It deals with the grief of losing a dear friend, but also the hope that comes with Christmas. And of course, true love, the greatest gift of all.

This beautiful Arabian from our local horse rescue modeled "Fallen Angel" in the story.
This beautiful Arabian from our local horse rescue modeled “Fallen Angel” in the story.
Somewhere in my childhood, I heard that animals kneel at midnight on Christmas Eve. Maybe somebody read me Thomas Hardy’s poem, The Oxen. All these years later, the idea came to life in my story. But how about other animal antics at this wonderful time of the year?

Well, we already know reindeer fly, thanks to Clement Moore’s 1823 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas. Two years before, in his 1821 Sketches of Upper Canada, author John Howison related how a Native American told him deer kneel to the Great Spirit on Christmas Eve.

A kneeling deer from Wikipedia Commons
A kneeling deer from Wikipedia Commons
In 1879, a Reverend Hugh Taylor of England’s Northern Counties claimed bees assembled and hummed a Christmas Carol. And a parish in Whitebeck said oxen kneeled to a chorus of bees.

A legend from the German Alps tells how animals on Christmas Eve spoke out loud and foretold their owners’ deaths.


In the sweet song The Friendly Beasts, the animals explain how they helped the Baby Jesus on His first night in the stable. The camel carried the gifts from the Wise Men, and the sheep gave wool for His blanket. The gift of the manger came from the cow, and the dove and her mate cooed Him to sleep.

The donkey, shaggy and brown, carried His mother safely to Bethlehem. And this sweet equine has its own holiday in France for similar reasons. The “Fete de L’Ane” celebrates the donkey who carried the Holy Family into Egypt and is praised with the chorus “Hail, Sir Donkey, Hail.”


Have you heard any other legends about animals at Christmas?


The Oxen

By Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.




Blurb: in Every Knee Shall Bend,  vagabond Alder Dale leaves the mountains after many years to come to his brother’s Colorado homestead for Christmas. However, last thing he expects to find is a beautiful widow raising kids not her own. Suddenly the wide-open range he loves seems cold and lonely. Walls and hearth call out to him.

Mail-order bride Sadie Dahlstrom leaves Kansas for a new life,  unprepared for widowhood. When she kneads the war wound of a rugged yet gentle stranger, her heart swells with a warmth far different from a Christmas fireplace.


In Christmas Lights, the tone is serious, too. It’s an installment for my Hearts Crossing Ranch series. The heroine Lori appears as an “ex” in a prior story, but I wanted her to have a happy ending all her own. She has to go through a lot to get there, but I’m glad she saw the “light”.



The Christmas party at Hearts Crossing Ranch is the highlight of the Season in Mountain Cove, Colorado, but Lori Lazaro longs to be anywhere else.

Until a handsome cowboy driving a one-horse open sleigh starts a journey of the heart. Deep down, she doesn’t want it to end, but it must. Heston Calhoun lives life in the spotlight, and after past trauma, Lori needs the comfort of a life in the shadows.

Lori Lazaro stirs Heston like no woman ever has before. Sure, his family stars in a popular unscripted television show about ranch life, but he’s not going to let Lori’s skittishness end their story before it even begins. Having faced dark moments in his own past assures him God can brighten her future. He simply needs to convince Lori that together, they’ll write a happy ending after all.



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23 thoughts on “Every Knee Shall Bend~Tanya Hanson”

  1. Hi Tanya. I haven’t heard of any other legends about animals kneeling or speaking. I truly enjoyed your post though and the pictures as well. Thank you for sharing.

    Cindy W.

    • Cindy, thank you your kind words! I feel grateful at locating such lovely, fitting pictures. Permission to use the kneeling wolf came in last night! And it fits the story. I am passionate about wolf conservation.

      I wish you and yours a blessed Christmastide.

  2. Hi Tanya!

    Great post. Of course I’ve heard of a few legends around Christmas time in the old West, but nothing about the animals kneeling. I like the legend. Also loved the poem — and I think the covers of your new stories are so beautiful!

  3. I have heard of anything like this before but I loved your post. It would be something to see the animals kneeling on Christmas. I will have to watch my cat to see if he does.

    • Hi Quilt Lady, I hear ya! While I was researching this post, I came across a personal blog about a woman and her son who witnessed all their horses kneeling on Christmas Eve! I have half a mind to trek to our horse rescue on December 24!

      Thanks so much for posting today.

  4. Tanya, I remember, as a kid, learning about the animals kneeling at midnight and being able to speak on Christmas at that time, too. I believed that just as surely as I believed in Santa Claus! I remember asking my mom, “How long does it last? An hour? A minute?” I guess I was trying to plan things to ask my cat. LOL I loved your story so much in the A COWBOY UNDER THE MISTLETOE boxed set. Every one of those are great stories–very enjoyable, and different.

    I will snap Christmas Lights and will, of course, stare at the cover for several long minutes before I begin to read. And then, I’ll come back to the cover again…and again…LOL

    Great post. I love these legends. And I love that song The Friendly Beasts. I’m editing a book right now written from the donkey’s point of view–the donkey that carried Mary. It’s a great story. Love to see things from the animals’ viewpoints.

    • Hi Cheryl, thanks as always for your support of my stories and the opportunities to write them. I can’t wait to read that story you’re editing. I think the donkey is such a humble, sacred, precious animal. GK Chesterton’s classic poem The Donkey brings me to tears.

    • I know, Kim. I kinda like them better than a lot of people–no sass and plenty of unconditional love. Thanks for posting today, and Christmas blessings to you and yours.

  5. Lovely post. In the fifties there was a TV show called I Remember Mama which had a Christmas episode where they went out to the barn to hear the animals talk

    • Hi Susan, thanks for stopping in and for your kind words. I wonder if I can find this old episode somehow…thanks for sharing, I’ll get it was a meaningful show. Blesssed holidays to you!

  6. Beautiful and inspiring. I also believe animals are always giving us gifts, if we just open our hearts and minds. Thanks for a great start to the holiday season. Doris

    • Hi Doris, I also hold animals as amazingly righteous and an extension of our Creator. They teach us such powerful lessons and give such love. Thank you for stopping by!

  7. I loved this tender hearted blog about animals and how they may respond on Christmas Eve. I never heard about them on bended knee, but I did hear that they could speak on Christmas Eve. Well, maybe animals always speak to us with their hearts, but it would be a wonderful miracle indeed if my Lily and Liberty could speak to me this Christmas Eve. I wonder what they would say?
    I love your beautiful stories, Tanya. I wish you all the best through the holidays and into the new year.

    • Sarah, thank you so much for your support and caring wishes! This was a very enjoyable post to research, and to find such lovely, fitting pictures. I had already posted last night when I got a last-minute permission from Sabrina Hofmann in Germany giving the okay to use her Kneeling Wolf image. I know your sweet Lily and Liberty send you messages with their eyes (like the horses at the rescue do to me!) but maybe they will sing a Carol out loud this Christmas Eve! Fingers crossed. xo

  8. Beautiful pictures of animals, Tanya! Love your stories and these two sound especially wonderful! Your kind and generous heart shows through in your photos and your stories. Happy start to a the holiday season!

    • Hi Charlene, oh, I’m very touched. But you did teach me everything I know! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I agree, the animals rocked iit! Christmas blessings to you and the family. xo

  9. Lovely post, Tanya. Sorry I missed the giveaways. Both stories sound wonderful. I have missed P & P. Have a detached retina. and today is the first time in a week I have been allowed up. Not being able to read has been awful.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and great New Year.

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