Once upon a Christmas Eve, a man sat in reflective silence before the fireplace, pondering the meaning of Christmas. “There is no point to a God who becomes man,” he mused. “Why would an all-powerful God want to share even one of His precious moments with the likes of man? And even if He did, why would He choose to be born in an animal stall? No way! The whole thing is absurd! I’m sure that if God really wanted to come down to earth, He would have chosen some other way.” Suddenly, the man was roused from his reverie by a strange sound outside. He went to the window and saw a small gaggle of blue geese frantically honking and aimlessly flopping about in the snow. They seemed dazed and confused. Apparently they had dropped out in exhaustion from the flight formations of a larger flock on its way from the Arctic Islands to the warmer climes of the Gulf of Mexico. Moved to compassion, the man tried to “shoo” the poor geese into his warm garage, but the more he “shooed” the more they panicked. “If they only realized I’m only trying to do what’s best for them,” he thought to himself. “How can I make them understand my concern for their well-being?” Then, this thought came to him: “If for just a minute, I could become one of them, an ordinary goose, and communicate with them in their own language, they would know what I am trying to do.” And suddenly … suddenly, he remembered Christmas and a smile came over his face. Suddenly, the Christmas story no longer seemed absurd. Suddenly, he pictured that ordinary-looking infant, lying in the manger, in that stable in Bethlehem, and he knew the answer to his Christmas problem: God had become one of us to tell us that He loves us.
"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4 ESV
There was a photo taken in the 1970s by bicycle trekkers in Nigeria that showed just how indifferent human beings can be to one another. The picture perfectly captured what had happened to a man who was struck and killed on a highway.
Most of us remember the 1930s murder mystery re-runs that always showed a chalk outline that marked where the body of the victim was before being removed by the police. The image in the Nigeria picture was quite similar, only that the solid dark outline was that of the actual body of a man who had been repeatedly run over, thousands of times, by daily traffic.
It was not uncommon for a man to leave his family for an extended period to work away from home to earn a living, and that was probably the case with the dead man. His body had become absolutely flat and cardboard thin from so many drivers who chose to run over it rather than stopping and doing something about the body.
Undoubtedly no one ever did anything and his body continued to be ground into dust, bit by bit, until it finally blew away as dust in the wind.
I think there is a lessons here for us: that having this type of disregard for human life is not the way of true believers, but it is the way of the world, and the ways of the world will continue to dominate most thinking as long as indifference continues to stand where love and caring once stood.
Let us pray that eyes and minds are opened to the true value of life, anytime and anywhere that life is bought, sold or considered to be of little value.
Sim Lee is a retired NE Iowan who loves all of God's creatures.