Faith & Worship: A parable of the birds

Published 3:24 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2017

I think that most of us would agree that this is a wonderful time of the year and it is of God’s making. God sent His only Son into the world to become one of us yet more than any one of us, for although He became a man he continues to be God.

“Late in time, behold Him come, Offspring of a virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the God-head see, Hail th’incarnate Deity! Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel.” (Charles Wesley, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”).

We call Jesus becoming a man Incarnation. There are at least a couple of parables which explain the Incarnation, one using ants, the other birds. Preferring birds to ants, I have chosen birds. Here is the story, which is based on a parable by Louis Cassels in Christian Primer.

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There once was a man who wasn’t bitter toward the church or sour on Christmas, but he couldn’t wrap his mind around the Incarnation which is what Christmas is all about. Therefore he declined to accompany his family to the Christmas Eve service.

Not long after the family left for Church it began to snow. He watched from his window as it flurried at first and then snowed heavier and began to accumulate.

As he sat by the fireside he heard a thumping. It sounded like snowballs being thrown against his window. One followed another, thump, thump, thump!

Going outside to see what was going on, he saw a flock of birds stranded by the snowstorm and huddled in his yard.

Being a compassionate soul, he decided to rescue the birds lest they freeze to death in the snow and cold. Bundling up he trudged through the snow to the horse barn where the children’s pony was stabled.  It would provide shelter and warmth for the birds. He opened the barn door and turned on the light. But the birds wouldn’t go into the barn.

Taking some bread crumbs, he sprinkled a trail in the snow to the barn, but to no avail. The birds still wouldn’t fly into the shelter of the barn.

In a last ditch effort he walked around flailing his arms in the air, hoping that the birds would fly into the barn, but they only scattered.

He thought to himself, “They find me a fearsome creature, but I’m only trying to help. I mean them no harm. If only I could become a bird myself, perhaps they would trust me, find shelter and warmth in the barn.” 

At that moment, the sound of church bells rang out in the cold night air. Listening quietly as the bells pealed in the stillness of the night, he dropped to his knees in the snow.

“Now I understand,” he said softly. “Now I know why You had to do it.”

“Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die, Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth” (“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”). It has been said that “The Son of God became the Son of Man that the sons [and daughters] of man might become the sons [and daughters] of God.”

A Merry Christmas to all!