Babushka’s Christmas Legend


Babushka meets the 3 Wise men
Illustration by Jillian Gilliland, via Tell Me a Story

Colin Lowther and Liz Waid share a story from Russia. It tells about an old woman who gives up the chance of a lifetime.

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Colin Lowther.

Voice 2  

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

Christmas is one of the few holidays celebrated all around the world. But every country has its own ways of celebrating Christmas. These celebrations pass from one generation to another to create special traditions. In this way, people of every age can enjoy the excitement and stories of Christmas.

Voice 2  

All the different celebrations, traditions, and Christmas stories are also similar. This is because they are all based on one story. It is the story of the first Christmas — the day Jesus Christ was born. The word “Christ” was not part of his name. The word Christ is a special name for someone who would rescue people. It was a special name for a new kind of King.

Voice 1  

Jesus was born in the ancient city of Bethlehem, in the Middle East. After he was born, a star appeared in the sky. At that time, there was a tradition about new stars. A new star appearing meant that a new king was born. A small group of important men lived very far away from Bethlehem. Today, many people call these men the Magi or the Wise Men. The Wise Men saw this star. They wanted to bring gifts to this new baby king. So they travelled to find the baby. They had to travel far. But a star is not a map. It does not give a perfect location. The Wise Men had to stop and ask if anyone had heard of a king being born.

Voice 2

This story is the starting point for our program today. It is a legend. It probably did not happen exactly as it is told. But it is a story that tells us something about the world or the way we should live. Today’s Spotlight is on the Russian Christmas legend of Babushka.

Voice 1  

This Christmas story begins in the land that is now Southern Russia. It happened a long time ago on the night when Jesus was born. It was winter. Snow covered the earth. Ice covered the tree branches. And the cold wind blew. An old woman called Babushka was alone in her home. But she was happy that she had a fire to keep her warm. She did not have to go out into the cold.

Voice 2  

Suddenly, there was a noise at her door. Someone was knocking! When she opened the door, three old Wise Men were standing there. They were wearing the clothes of kings. They carried gifts and packages. They said to her,

Voice 3  

“Babushka, we have travelled from a far away country. We have stopped to tell you of the Christ-child who was born tonight in Bethlehem. He comes to rule the world. And he will teach all men and women to be loving and true. We are bringing him gifts.”

Voice 1  

Babushka invited the men to stay and get warm. She gave them hot food to eat. They told her about the star they were following. Babushka wished that she could see this little baby King. The men invited Babushka to come with them.

Voice 3  

“Come with us, Babushka! Then you can bring a gift of your own!”

Voice 2  

But Babushka looked out the window at the cold night. She thought of going out into the cold. She decided that she did not want to leave her warm room. So the three men continued on alone in the cold winter night.

Voice 1  

But that night Babushka could not sleep. She kept thinking about what the old men told her. She kept thinking about the wonderful chance they offered - to see the baby Jesus. Finally, she decided that in the morning she would go to see the Christ-child. And she hoped that on her way, she would see the old men.

Voice 2  

In the morning, Babushka filled a container with gold balls, wood toys, and other play things for children. Then she put on her coat and went to see the baby Jesus. But Babushka remembered something. She had not asked the three Wise Men the way to Bethlehem. And now they had travelled so far during the night that she could not find them.

Voice 1  

Babushka decided to continue on. She hurried up and down many roads. And she asked every person she met,

Voice 4  

“I want to see the Christ-child. Where is he? I am bringing him beautiful toys.”

Voice 1  

But no one could tell her the way. Each person told her,

Voice 5  

“Continue on Babushka, keep going.”

Voice 2  

So Babushka kept travelling. She travelled for years and years. But she never found the child. In Russia, they say she is still travelling and looking for the baby Jesus. And every year, on the night before Christmas, she comes into the towns carrying her bag of toys. She enters each house when the children are sleeping. She holds a light close to the little children’s faces. She says,

Voice 4  

“Is he here? Is the baby Jesus here?”

Voice 1  

Then she shakes her head sadly. But she leaves a toy from her bag next to each sleeping child. Then Babushka continues on her way.

Voice 2  

People tell the story of Babushka every year at Christmas time. Often, these Christmas legends explain how a particular tradition began. The story of Babushka explains how presents appear while children sleep. Many cultures or countries have different legends that explain the mystery of surprise gifts. There is a story from Italy that is similar to Bubushka. It is called La Befana. Some parts are the same, but other parts are different.

Voice 1  

Another story that explains the tradition of giving gifts at Christmas is the story of Saint Nicholas. This story has changed a lot from the story in the Bible. The most well- known version has become Santa Claus. But the Santa Claus story that is in films today has snow, elf helpers, and flying reindeer. This is a very different from the story of the Wise Men bringing gifts to a baby Jesus.

Voice 2  

Stories like Babushka may not be true. But these stories are important. They help us explain traditions. They help us understand the world and make meaning of our lives.

Voice 1  

Have you heard this story of Babushka before? What legends or stories do you tell at holidays? You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 2  

The writers of this program were Adam Navis and Courtney Schutt. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. It was based on the Christmas legend of Babushka. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Babushka’s Christmas Legend’.

Voice 1  

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you know any Christmas legends? If yes, what are they?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
kenhieuloilam
said on December 27, 2018

All the people expect the Saviour’s arrival. Babe Jesus Christ, the Saviour, the Son of God, the King of the kingdom of heaven is born into the world for us. The Son of God is born into the world to become a human, shares human life with human, experiences suffering and dies on the Cross to give human salvation. The Son of God comes into the world to free human from the power of the devil, slavery of sin and death and lead human on the way of truth and love, the way of peace to the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of truth and love. We will not be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven if we are a servant of sin. We will not be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven if we do wrong. We will not be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven if we do not live to love one another. All the people expect the Saviour’s arrival. Babe Jesus Christ, the Saviour, the Son of God, the King of the kingdom of heaven is born into the world for us. We are children of God, children of freedom. We always walk on the way of truth and love.