Once there was a farmer and he and his family were living through a cold, snowy Midwestern winter. He was a kind, decent, good man – generous to his family and honest in his dealings with others, but he just didn’t believe all that “God becoming a man” business which the churches proclaim at Christmas time. It just didn’t make sense and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn’t swallow the Jesus “born of a virgin” story.
“I’m truly sorry to distress you,” he told his wife, “I know it’s Christmas Eve, but I’m not going with you to church tonight.” He said he’d feel like a hypocrite and that he’d much rather just stay at home. So the farmer’s wife and family went to the Christmas Eve service at their church as the snow began to fall again.
The farmer had just sat down in his chair by the warm fireplace when he heard a loud ‘thump’ against a window. He looked out and saw a flock of birds obviously freezing in the subzero temperatures. Apparently, they had been caught in the weather and in a desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his window. They huddled together, shivering from the snowy cold.
He couldn’t just let the poor creatures lie there, suffer and freeze. He thought if he could get the birds into his barn, that would provide a warm shelter for them. He put on his coat and boots and headed outside.
The farmer opened the barn doors and waited for the birds to fly in. He waited and waited, but the birds either didn’t see the barn doors or they were too scared to or didn’t know they could enter the barn. They continued to shiver outside. The farmer wasn’t about to give up though.
Next, he grabbed some bird seed and made a trail to the barn. The birds ate some of the small seeds but they did not follow the seeds into the barn. Some of the seeds were soon covered by the snow and lost. Next, he came behind the birds and tried to shoo them into the barn, but they flew away in the opposite direction and then returned to gather into their shivering mass.
The farmer realized that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a threat. If only I could let them know that they can trust me – that I’m not trying to hurt them, but that I’m trying to help them. But how? Any move he made seemed to frighten and confuse them even more.
The farmer thought to himself, “If only I could communicate with them – be one of them. I could explain to them that the warm barn is a safe place and they wouldn’t be confused or scared anymore.” As the farmer was thinking about this, he heard the church bells ring for the Sunday evening service. Suddenly, the farmer understood the reason God sent Jesus.