This is a relatively young carol – only 51 years old! It was written by Eric Boswell who wanted a simple song for children to sing, It was first released as a ‘hit’ by Gracie Fields in 1959. She was in the charts with Elvis and Cliff Richard! It tells the story of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem to take part in the Roman census. Although the song sings about a donkey carrying Mary, there is no mention of a donkey in the Bible!
Bethlehem is around 80 miles from Nazareth so that was a long way to travel in those days – hot, dusty and thirsty work! The song encourages the donkey to keep going: it is has a significant role to play in ensuring Jesus is born in Bethlehem as foretold by Isaiah, 700 years before.