“If only I could become like one of them, then I could save them”

There was a Scottish farmer who didn’t believe in the Christmas story. The idea that God would become a man was absurd. His wife, however, was a devout believer and raised their children in her faith. The farmer sometimes gave her a hard time, mocking her faith and belief in the incarnation of God in the baby of Bethlehem: “It’s all nonsense,” he said. “Why would God lower himself to become a human like us? It’s such a ridiculous story.

One snowy Sunday evening his wife took the children to church while the farmer relaxed at home. After they had left, the weather deteriorated into a blinding snowstorm. Then he heard a loud thump against the window. Then another thump! He ventured outside to see what was happening. There in the yard was the strangest sight: a flock of geese! They had been migrating south but had got disorientated by the storm. They were stranded on his farm, unable to fly or to see their way.

The farmer had compassion on them. He wanted to help them and realised his barn would give them shelter for the night. He opened the barn doors and stood back, hoping they would make their way in. But they didn’t realise it would be shelter for them. So he tried to shoo the geese in, but they ran in all directions. Perplexed, he got some bread and made a trail to the barn door. But they still didn’t catch on. Nothing he could do would get them into the warmth and shelter of the barn.

Feeling totally frustrated, 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 to follow me?

He thought for a moment and then realised that they would not follow a human. He said to himself, “How can I possibly save them? The only way would be for me to become a goose. 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, the church bell in the village rang out. The farmer stopped and realised what he had said. The words reverberated in his head. “If only I could become like one of them, then I could save them.” Now he understood why God sent his only Son to be with us, one of us. He fell to his knees in the snow and worshipped him.