"One night a farmer who was a skeptic about Christ stayed home when his family went to church one Christmas Eve. Then he heard a loud thump, something hitting against the window. And another thump. He looked outside but couldn't see. So he ventured outside to see. In the field near his house he saw, of all the strangest
things, a flock of birds! They were apparently flying to look for a warmer area down south, but had been caught in the snow storm.
The storm had become too blinding and violent for the geese to fly or see their way. They were stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter, unable to
do more than flutter their wings and fly in aimless circles. He had compassion for them and wanted to help them. He thought to himself, "The barn would be a great place for them to stay! It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm." So
he opened the barn doors for them.
He waited, watching them, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But they didn't notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. He moved closer toward them to get their attention, but they just moved away from him out of fear. He went into the house and came back out with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread trail to the barn. They still didn't catch on. Starting to get frustrated, he went over and tried to shoo them toward the barn. They panicked and scattered into every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where there was warmth, safety and shelter.
Feeling totally frustrated, he exclaimed, "Why don't they follow me? Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm? How can I possibly get them into the one place to save them?" He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. He said to himself, "How can I possibly save them? The only way would be for me to become like those birds. If only I could become like one of them! Then I could save them! They would follow me and I would lead them to safety."
At that moment, he stopped and considered what he had said. The words
reverberated in his mind: "If only I could become like one of them- then I could save them." And then, at last, he understood God's heart towards
mankind, and he fell on his knees in the snow and worshipped Him."
Such a lot of great things happening in the future. Christmas, of course. And an announcement that I am to become a new, first-time Grandmother! Yes, my youngest daughter is pregnant and will be giving birth to a daughter in June of 2009. We are very excited. She is continuing to finish her degree and working very hard to make excellent grades. Her apartment is on the third floor, so she must be cautious this winter walking up two flights of stairs. My oldest daughter is working in labor and delivery at Saint Francis. My son is majoring in Psychology and just celebrated his birthday last night.
I have had the strep throat this week. Every time I get sick anymore, I realize just how wonderful it is to be well again. At least I will be well before Christmas. I only put up a puny 6 foot tree this year. With all children away at apartments and being sick, I just didn't feel like going through the process of putting up my major tree and ornaments. But I have done well with shopping this year. I'm almost finished. I will mail two packages today and send cards and Friday, one more time of shopping for last minute gifts.
Merry Christmas, everyone! "God bless us, everyone," as Tiny Tim would say.
When you go home, tell them of us and say, For your tomorrow, these gave their today.
Went the day well? We died and never knew, But, well or ill, freedom, we died for you.' (A translation of the poem by Simonides (557-476BC) written to commemorate the three hundred who fell at Thermopylae (480BC) The second verse also occurs in the anonymous poem of the Battle of Britain: 'Sweeping squadrons filled the summer sky, White trails across a brilliant blue, We met head on five miles high, There were so many, we were few.
Went the day well? We died and never knew, But, well or ill, freedom, we died for you. And left the vivid air signed with our honour, And now, do you remember us They called The Few?
We need to know that we are not alone, That here and now our sacrifice is known, And we are not forgotten.'
What do you think about when you hear the word Christmas? Presents, food, family, traveling? All these things are what Christmas is about, but the number one meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ. You can't leave Him out. Jesus' birth happened while his parents were traveling to Bethlehem to be counted in the census that Caesar Augustus had decreed. So there was traveling involved. Jesus was born in a stable and placed in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. He was visited by shepherds after angels announced the good news of a great joy which was for all people: "for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." I have always loved how Charlie Brown's Christmas included Lionel reading this passage from the Bible. It is always very moving to me.
Jesus was also visited by magi (the three wisemen) from the east. They were sent by Herod to search for the Child. The magi brought Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. "And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way." This is why gifts are given at Christmas time. So Christmas does involve family and gift-giving and traveling to homes but never forget that it is the celebration of the Birth of Christ. A Christian holiday. A Holy Day.