Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Reason

A little story about a religious skeptic who worked as a farmer [by Paul Harvey], which I would like to call 'The Reason'.

One raw winter night the farmer heard an irregular thumping sound against the kitchen storm door.  He went to a window and watched as tiny, shivering sparrows, attracted to the evident warmth inside, beat in vain against the glass.
Touched, the farmer bundled up and trudged through fresh snow to open the barn door for the struggling birds.  He turned on the lights and tossed some hay in a corner.  But the sparrows, which had scattered in all directions when he emerged from the house, hid in the darkness, afraid.
The man tried various tactics to get them into the barn.  He laid down a trail of Saltine cracker crumbs to direct them.  He tried circling behind the birds to drive them toward the barn.  Nothing worked.  He, a huge, alien creature, had terrified them; the birds couldn't comprehend that he actually desired to help them.
The farmer withdrew to his house and watched the doomed sparrows through a window.  As he stared, a thought hit:  If only I could become a bird - one of them - just for a moment.  Then I wouldn't frighten them so.  I could show them the way to warmth and safety.
At the same moment, another thought dawned on him.  He had grasped the reason Jesus was born.

From the The Nativity Story

Oh Holy Night
Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure

Oh Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till he appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices!
Oh night divine, the night when Christ was born.


Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love, and His Gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Adoration of the Shepherds, Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

As a side note, it's interesting how all the old paintings of the nativity scene, etc. show the Jewish Mary and Joseph as Anglo white people.  Not very politically correct *cough*.
I'm sure you'll understand that by displaying these pictures I am in no way promoting this sort of exclusive idea.  Hence, I included the previous picture from the movie The Nativity Story, which I think is much more realistic. 


  1. cute story :)

    I agree about the Jewish/Anglo thing...

    I've also heard that many people in the Middle East have a BIG problem with the idea of Jesus being born in a stable: it's unclean! But the thing is he wasn't! Over there what they really do is this: they have the house, right, and there's a place where the guests stay and there's a significantly inferior place where the family stay. On one side of the family's rooms are the guest rooms while on the other side are the animals. The animals are separated from the family by a curtain on the animal-side of which is the manger. So the family rooms are clean and the "stable" is unclean. But, here's the cool bit, when they have a baby they move the curtain and use the manger as a cot!!! This really happens in the Middle East even today! (I got this from eye-witnesses)

    So it wasn't like the hotels were full so they slept with the animals... it was like the best rooms, the kind of rooms you'd keep for special people like God's son and such, were full and only the place for an ordinary baby was left! Jesus' birth wasn't extraordinary (how weird, he was born in a stable) it was ordinary (oh, he was born like all the other kids of that time and place)!!!!!!

    and I mean, what did the angels say to the shepherds? Basically, "you'll know you've found the right kid because he'll be wrapped in a blanket, with a dummy in his mouth, asleep in a cot." What's with that?

  2. wow, your comments are so fascinating, Koda! I had no idea about the typical places where babies were born, etc. It's great to know the cultural traditions behind Biblical text. Gives it much more depth.


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