December 09

posted 24 Nov 2009, 13:17 by Richard Jones   [ updated 25 Nov 2009, 01:09 ]
The Vicar writes . . .
ONE OF MY FAVOURITE Christian singers is the American, Don Francisco.  He writes all his own songs.  Every one of them has a Christian message, and whenever I listen to him he seems to have an uncanny knack that in each of his songs, the message is always just for me.

      One of my favourites is a song which describes someone trying to help a bird that’s got an injured wing.  In its fear, and desperation to get away, it causes itself even more injury and harm rather than allowing itself to be picked up, healed, and released once again into freedom.

      I’d been listening to the song recently, when Judith told me how similar it was to a story that was told on a Lay Assistants training day she once went on back in Manchester.

      “Once there was a man who looked upon Christmas as a lot of humbug.  He wasn’t a Scrooge, but he didn’t believe all that stuff about an incarnation which churches go on about at Christmas.  And he was too honest to pretend that he did.

      ‘I simply cannot understand this claim that God became human’, he told his wife, who was off to church.  ‘but you go along and I’ll wait up for you’.

      Shortly, snow began to fall.  A few minutes later, he was startled by a thudding sound.  It was quickly followed by another, then another.  He thought that someone must be throwing snowballs at his living-room window.

      When he went to the front door, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow.  They’d been caught in the storm, and in desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through his window.

      ‘I can’t let these poor creatures lie there and freeze,’ he thought, ‘but how can I help them?’  The barn where his children’s pony was stabled would provide warm shelter.  So he tramped through the snow to the barn, opened the doors wide and turned on the light .  .  .  but the birds didn’t come in.  ‘Food will bring them in’, he thought, so he hurried back to the house for breadcrumbs which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail to the barn.

      To his dismay the birds ignored the food and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow.  He tried shooing them into the barn by walking round and waving his arms but they scattered in every direction except into the warm, lighted barn.

      ‘They find me a strange and terrifying creature’, he said to himself, ‘and I can’t seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me.  If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety’.

      At that moment the church bells began to ring.  He stood silently for a while listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas, then he sank to his knees in the snow.

      ‘Now I understand’. he whispered.  ‘Now I see why you had to do it’.” 

With every good wish for Christmas and for the New Year, and may God’s blessing be with you all