“There was once a man who didn’t believe in God, and he didn’t hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.
One snowy eve, his wife was taking their children to service in the farm community in which they lived. They were to talk about Jesus’ birth. She asked him to come, but he refused. “That story is nonsense!” he said. “Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That’s ridiculous!” So she and the children left, and he stayed home.
A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. He looked out, but couldn’t see more than a few feet.
When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn’t go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed. The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It’s warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. 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 came with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread crumb 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 got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe. “Why don’t they follow me?!” he exclaimed. “Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?” 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.
Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn — and 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 earlier. “Why would God want to be like us? That’s ridiculous!” 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.
As the winds and blinding snow died down, he became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought. Suddenly he understood why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief vanished with the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: “Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!”
The meaning of Christmas is put forth many times when the commercial side of Christmas is brought up. It’s then decried as the commercialism and buying presents spoil the real meaning of Christmas and yet we look for the purchased gift. This leads to thinking that we’ve all missed it. The meaning of Christmas is the story of Christmas – and we’ve already received the best gift. His gift that is reason for the meaning, the joy and hope of the season.
Christmas traditions can mean going home. A family and friends help capture our history, our traditions. The focus however isn’t the wrapped paper gifts under the tree. It’s the smile on someone’s face for a small kindness in passing. It’s telling the Christmas story from the Bible one more time. It’s looking at the years that have passed since then and all those we love. It’s the child born in a manger because there was no room at the inn.
It’s the lessons that we can still forget today. It’s not about money. When you have a bad day think of nearing delivery of a child and it’s a pregnancy with an unusual explanation. You’re riding to a destination, not in a car but on the back of a donkey. There wasn’t even a comfortable bed so, as many do today they found the best thing available which was bedded down in a stable.
There is mystery for some that the shepherds were the first to be notified of His birth. They heard before the kings and powerful people of the day. Could it be that they were awake, they were receptive to the news? Shepherds are, in comparison, past and present a low paying position in a career there isn’t much money.
The shepherds did hear and came to the lowly stable where wise men proclaimed this child was a King. He was the Light of the World. Much as today people scoffed. Perhaps they rejected the news. A King wouldn’t be in such accommodations.
He became a carpenter, and built not just things with wood and nails but words and promises. A kingdom is more than just buildings and things.
Yet when we speak of those in power we say they don’t understand. God delivered His son to the lowest common people among us. People without a great deal of money were the main characters. This is what Christmas means. It’s a gift of forgiveness we don’t deserve. We want our way, not guidance even as children and as adults, in comparison, we’re still children just learn to live by a new set of rules we create.
The meaning of Christmas is giving, sharing, loving. It’s not just one day. Christmas can be – should be – every day. Where does Christmas go? The meaning is every day. It’s in each of us.
That’s the meaning of Christmas. The Christmas story lives.
From the beginning bit by bit SlowMoneyFarm has grown – still very small but grown from an idea. We get used to speedbumps. Then comes a pothole. Sink hole. Going forward it’s just me and Connor – Scoutman is bowing out to follow other personal interests. That leaves a gap in income and in skills here, but with support through a major transition we’ll survive. We’ve had the luxury of the last few years being able to expand with outside income. That is now gone.
Merry Christmas! It won’t be this year. It’s all focus on getting the greenhouse up, getting materials for raised beds up, getting fencing up and getting rolling so that we have income. There have been some things happening – listed with Credibles, which is an advanced purchase/investment that gives 10-15% extra to those participating. Also a gofundme was started, but needs some attention to reach goal for the first phase. Of course the website is another option, as is the direct purchase on Facebook.
It’s overwhelming in a way – there isn’t time to cry and moan about problems. As Brooks & Dunn sing in “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” – ‘ride baby ride’…adapt, dust off, carry on. Mom did it. And there’s a teen watching, participating, learning life lessons of a different kind. From a time I wouldn’t ask for a loaf of bread if the house was empty, it’s a bad time to be too stubborn to ask, and it’s needed for supplies.
We’ll deal with the disconnect notice on the power, and hopefully a year from now will dazzle with a rising from the ashes tale that will have proven to be a speed bump after all and helped others as well. But right now every $25 subscription counts.
An inventory of seeds has been done – 50 types of peppers slated for 2015. Some tomatoes, heirloom corn, squash, greens, pumpkins, herbs…yep all on hand. We need to get materials for the raised beds and hoop greenhouse to have a place to put them. We need to get an incredible amount of things done on a very small amount of money that won’t cover basics, let alone subsistence. So I’ll swallow pride and ask everyone to share this and maybe it will reach enough to make a difference.
Maybe a better Christmas next year. It’s a season of miracles and we need one. He is good all the time, but relies on others to implement.
Christmas traditions are often long and linger long past childhood. The Christmas memories can last long after realizing that reindeer don’t fly and Santa isn’t dressed in a red suit.
Still there’s memories of Christmas performances when schools were still allowed to play Christmas songs. In grade school this might start with the youngest and each grade had something to play, sing or act. At the end there was an invitation to sing Jingle Bells when the youngest students would look anxiously at the back doors of the school for Santa to come and disperse candy and oranges to close the evening. More than one suspicious farm kid probably took a peek outside for the reindeer.
Our family always had Christmas Eve at home when we opened presents after a Christmas meal of ham or turkey or, as the family grew, perhaps both. Christmas day was reserved for spending at Mom’s where there were gifts that probably took much more of her time and effort than we realized then.
There was usually snow although the amount varied. One year we saw a tv special about the night the animals talked – as the story went on Christmas eve in thanks for their manger as a bed for the King the animals were given the gift of speech for a limited time. I do recall sneaking out to the barn one year and snuggling in the warmth of the hay to see if Ol’ Joe (pony) or the cows spoke but if they did we never heard it. Maybe they were just shy.
One of the traditions was giving the animals just a little extra feed. Be it the cows or horses or the dogs and cats everyone got an extra treat. Sometimes Christmas carols were on tap sometime during the week as a 4-H or other activity in town.
Traditional Christmas songs as well as some newer ones are still a part of the Christmas tradition. Music reaches through the years and celebrates His birth and the meaning of the season. Christmas church service was one way to pay homage to it.
Another tradition, started when receiving one, was a random phone call to wish someone Merry Christmas. This started with someone unknown in Canada who called one Christmas morning by dialing a random number. Today we’re likely to get a fax machine or other inaccessible number but after a few tries it’s the same surprised voice I had to get a random call from a stranger just to say Merry Christmas. With all the political correctness in the world I hadn’t had anyone offended by it – and not a long ranging conversation but a short call. Sometimes an answering machine took a message.
The real tradition of the holidays is family, friends, love and the celebration of His gifts on Christmas and every day. That’s the best Christmas tradition of all.