Years ago I heard a story about a man in Chicago who chose to stay home on Christmas Eve as his family went to church. It was a cold night, the fire was roaring in the fireplace of his home, and he saw no sense in going out on such a terrible night to sing to a God he didn’t believe in anyway.
His struggle, at least intellectually, had to do with his doubt that God even existed and that, if He did exist, why He would want to communicate to His creation? And why does He allow suffering to come if He is God? It just didn’t make sense to him on any level. And so, smug in his unbelief and snug in his place before the fire, he sat.
That’s when the snow began falling in earnest, and the windchill dropped, and in desperation, birds began flying at his window toward the fire inside. One after the other, the small birds would pound into his window and collapse to their death. His heart was breaking at the plight of the birds and so, throwing on boots and his winter coat he went outside and began to furiously wave his arms hoping to scare the birds away. He jumped and then began shouting but all in vain. The birds kept pelting against the window and dying.
It was in that moment that the thought crossed his mind: If for just a moment I could become a bird, I could tell them to turn away before they hit the window. If I could only become a bird….
And suddenly, the light dawned in his heart. That was why God became a man. We would never understand Him if He simply remained in Heaven. And so He stepped into the cold waters of this planet and became a baby. God in flesh. Emmanuel.
Hot tears coursed down his cheeks as the truth suddenly dawned. And he knew that, in his care of these random birds, God cares so much more for people made in His image and wants none to suffer and none to die.
And suddenly, Christmas made sense.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in a land of deep darkness the light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)
FOR REFLECTION: Who do you know today that is walking in darkness? How can you bring them to the light?