There was once a man who didn’t believe in God and didn’t hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife did believe and raised their children to have faith in God and Jesus.
One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked her husband to come, but he refused as usual, “The Christmas story is nonsense!” he exclaimed. “Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That’s ridiculous!”
She and the children went, and he stayed home.
That night the wind began to blow and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he could see was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down before the fireplace to relax. Suddenly, there was a loud thump. Something had hit the window.
Then, a second thump. He looked out, but couldn’t see more than a few feet because of the blinding snow.
When the storm let up a little, he ventured out to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near the house was a flock of wild geese. Apparently they were flying south when they were caught in the blizzard and couldn’t go on.
They were lost and stranded on his farm, without food or shelter. Flapping their wings, they aimlessly flew around the field in low circles. Some had apparently flown into his window.
The man felt concern for the geese and wanted to help them.
The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It was warm and safe. They would be saved if they spent the night there waiting out the storm.
He opened the barn doors wide. Then he watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and enter. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn’t seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.
The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away. He went into the house and brought out some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on.
Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only became frightened and scattered in every direction except toward the barn.
Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be safe. “Why don’t they follow me?” he puzzled. “Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive?”
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 out loud.
Suddenly, he had an idea. He went into the barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. When he released his goose, it flew through the flock and straight into the safety of 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.
Suddenly, it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese–blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come.
Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first real prayer: “Thank You, Lord, for coming in human form to get me out of this world and leading me to a better one. Lead me to the safety of Your Father’s arms.”