The Christmas Birds

gooses-1523997On a cold, snowy midwest Christmas Eve…

I can’t believe my wife is getting dressed for church. Church! It’s snowing outside, the fire is going and it is nice and warm in here. What is she thinking?

Knowing I am better off not to even try, I say “Babe, I know you like going to church, and hey, I’m not usually against it, but tonight? It’s Christmas Eve, and it is freezing out there. Can’t you skip church tonight?”

“Of course I am going to go. We’re celebrating the birth of Jesus. The kids are excited. Why don’t you come with us?”

Her invitation kind of ticks me off. She knows better than to try and get me to go to church with her. The whole thing doesn’t make any sense. “Do you mean to tell me that you really believe that God left heaven and came to be born as a baby? Does it really make any sense to you that a god would lower himself to be like us? You can believe the fairy tale if you want, but don’t try to drag me into it.” I see the tears in her eyes as she bundles the kids and walks out to the car. She stops at the doorway and says sweetly, “I love you. I just wish you could understand.”

I was just dozing off when I heard a huge thud on the window. Then another, then another. What is going on out there? I peered through the window just in time for a huge goose to fly straight into the glass! There on the field south of my house were dozens of geese. They must have gotten disoriented by the storm as they flew south. They were cold and freezing and lost and confused. They didn’t have any food out there, that field has been shut down for the winter. Every now and then one of them would try to fly, but the wind and snow just pummeled them back into the ground. I felt sorry for them.

I wonder if I can get them to the barn until the storm blows over? I can put out some feed, and they can stay in there warm and safe. I put on my heavy coat and started out to the barn. Some of the geese are frightened as I walk by, and try to fly away. Man, it is cold out here! I open the barn door and call out, “Come on in here geese! You will be safe!”

The geese just stared at me blankly. So I moved toward them to try and show them I was good and not going to hurt them. They just skittered away, oblivious to my intentions.

I know! I went into the house to get a loaf of bread and made a bread trail from the field into the barn. I turned around expecting to see dozens of geese following me. Nope, not one. Feeling totally frustrated, I yelled at them, “Why won’t you follow me! Can’t you see this is the only place where you can survive! You’re going to die!” Then it hit me. They’re not going to follow me, I’m a human. If only I could become a goose, then they would know how much I want them to be safe and sound.

And suddenly, I understood Christmas. Of course, Jesus had to leave heaven. He had to be like one of us for us to follow him. He had to show us the way, but in a way we could understand it. That little baby born in a cave was God showing us a way to safety. As my eyes fill with tears I can see a set of headlights coming down the drive. I can’t wait to tell my wife what I have figured out! It took some lost geese to finally make me understand what she has been telling me all along…

Merry Christmas… Jerry


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