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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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Sometimes we can learn about God from our experience with nature

Sometimes we can learn about God from our experience with nature

A man, who didn’t believe in God, let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays like Christmas. His wife, however, did believe and she raised their children to have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve Mass in their farming community. She invited him to come, but he refused.

“That story is nonsense!” he said. “Why would God lower himself to come to Earth as a human? That’s ridiculous!”

She and the children left while he stayed home.

A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat and relaxed before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then another thump.

He looked out the window, but could not see anything. When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what was beating on his window.

In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. They had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm. They were lost and stranded on his farm with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew aimlessly around the field in low circles.

The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It’s warm and safe and they could wait out the storm there.

So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors. He watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. The geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn’t seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on.

He was now getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn. However, they became more frightened and scattered in every direction but toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn.

“Why don’t they follow me?” he exclaimed. “Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?”

He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn’t follow a human.

“If only I were a goose, then I could save them,” he said.

Then he went into the barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it. His goose flew through the flock straight into the barn. One by one the other geese followed it to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind, “If only I were a goose, then I could save them!”

Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. “Why on earth would God want to be like us? That’s ridiculous!”

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God did. We were like the geese – blind, lost, and perishing. God sent his Son to become like us so he could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized. He finally understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ became one of us. So he prayed,

“Thank you, God, for becoming one of us and rescuing me from the storm!”

The author is unknown. Ada Hendricks once said, “May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; the spirit of Christmas which is peace; and the heart of Christmas which is love.”