Making Sense out of Christmas
certain man, so the story told by Paul Harvey goes, was by no means a Scrooge. In fact, he was just the opposite. He was generous, responsible, kind and caring. But he couldn't believe the account the churches told about Christmas—the bit about Jesus being God-man who came to earth to save people from their sins. To him, Jesus was undoubtedly a great religious leader, but as for the rest of the story, he just couldn't buy that. It didn't make sense to him and he was too honest to deny it.
"I don't want to disappoint you," he said to his wife, "but I just can't go to church with you this Christmas. I would feel too much like a hypocrite."
It was a bleak, heavily overcast night when the rest of the family went to church to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. After they left it began to rain lightly. Soon the sky blackened even more. The drizzle changed to a downpour. Lightning crackled. Thunder roared. The man watched from the kitchen window for awhile, but returned to his favorite seat in the family room to relax for the evening and read.
Later, he heard a strange noise that seemed to come from his living room. It sounded like the dull thud of snow balls against the window. He heard it again and again. When he went outside to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled against his house. Apparently, they had been lost in the storm and, in a desperate search for shelter, flew into the large landscape window. They were attracted by the light which they could see clearly.
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He couldn't let the birds lie there in the storm, so what could he do? He couldn't allow them into his house, so he went to his large barn, opened the door wide and turned on the lights, hoping to attract the birds into the barn until the storm passed. But the birds didn't understand. He turned out the lights in his house, but they still didn't budge. He tried to shoo them into the lighted barn, but to no avail. They just became confused and frightened and scattered in every direction.
He pondered: "To them, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me, that I'm not trying to hurt but help them. But how?
"If only I could be a bird and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to safety. But I would have to be one of them so they could see and hear and understand."
Just then he heard the church bells ring and toll out the good news of Jesus’ birth. Suddenly, the Christmas story made sense to him. Now he could understand why God sent his Son to earth as a man—to identify with mankind and show them the way to safety; that is, to God and eternal life.
Because people evaluate most things on the basis of past experiences, it can be difficult to accept anything not previously seen or experienced.
For example, Orville and Wilbur Wright were the first to fly a heavier-than-air craft. They did something that no man had ever done before. The two were so excited they sent a telegram to their sister Katherine which read: "We have actually flown 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas."
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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