It’s almost Christmas, and I can’t help but reflect on just how beautiful it is to me this year. I’ve been in deep, deep prayer about it, and I couldn’t be more excited about our sweet holiday.
This year was the biggest roller coaster of my life it seems. I mean, there have been years in the past that were doozies, but they weren’t really my story because the big crappy events didn’t particularly happen to me, I was just part of it, watching the big crappy events happen to my people. But this year was different. This year, my depression came back swinging in the form of postpartum depression, and it knocked me to my knees. It started out last holiday season, then it got better in the spring and summer, then it reared its ugly head again in the very worst way in the fall. But I’m happy to say I AM AN OVERCOMER.
I didn’t realize just how deep of a depression I was in until I got out. That’s the thing about depression: it’s a sneaky beast and full of all the lies. But even if you don’t exactly have “depression” per se, I think we all go through the lulls of light where things aren’t exactly happy. You start to believe that your life is dull, and you learn to accept it. But oh, friend. Life is so much more.
A few weeks ago, I went to a women’s dinner at my church called Advent by Candlelight, and I had an aha moment like no other while listening to our keynote speaker of the night. She talked about seeing things with fresh eyes, as if seeing them for the very first time.
You know how you watch your kids’ eyes light up when you pick them up from school, or when you watch them experience all the Christmas festivities for the first time with such JOY? That’s the message she was trying to get across to us: we too can experience that same feeling over and over if we just allow ourselves to SEE.
She also shared a beautiful parable about the Incarnation that I just have to share. I pray it touches you as much as it did for me.
A Christmas Parable by Louis Cassels
Once upon a time there was a man who looked upon Christmas as a lot of
humbug. He wasn’t a Scrooge. He was a kind and decent person, generous to his
family, upright in all his dealings with others. But he didn’t believe all that stuff
about Incarnation which churches prepare for in Advent and proclaim at
Christmas. And he was too honest to pretend that he did. “I am truly sorry to
distress you,” he told his wife, who was a faithful churchgoer. “But I simply cannot
understand this claim that God becomes man. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
On Christmas Eve his wife and children went to church for the midnight service. He
declined to accompany them. “I’d feel like a hypocrite,” he explained. “I’d rather
stay at home. But I’ll wait up for you.”
Shortly after his family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the
window and watched the flurries getting heavier and heavier. “If we must have
Christmas,” he thought, “it’s nice to have a white one.” He went back to his chair
by the fireside and began to read his newspaper. 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 to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled
miserably in the storm. They had been caught in the storm and in a 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?” Then he
remembered the barn where the children’s pony was stabled. It would provide a
He put on his coat and galoshes and tramped through the deepening snow to the
barn. He opened the door wide and turned on a light. But the birds didn’t come in.
“Food will lure them in,” he thought. So he hurried back to the house for bread
crumbs, which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into the barn. To his
dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to flop around
helplessly in the snow. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around and
waving his arms. They scattered in every direction – except into the warm lighted
“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. . . .”
Just at that moment the church bells began to ring. He stood silent for a while,
listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. Then he sank to his
knees in the snow. “Now I do understand,” he whispered. “Now I see why You had
to do it.” ”
Copyright © 1959 by United Press International/Louis Cassels. Used by permission of United Press International. All rights reserved. Note that the original story was not available. When it was first distributed, editors of newspapers and radio programs freely altered the title and the text in literally hundreds of media outlets across the country. The above version is one that is widely circulated today.
This simple yet beautiful story is a wonderful way to explain the Incarnation. The
end of the story closed with “Now I see why You had to do it.” Now I see.
God had to do it, had to become one of us to make us understand because despite His efforts
humanity still could not grasp God without Jesus. But then the Word was made
Flesh and he lived among us. Jesus was the pinnacle of God reaching out to us.
Isn’t that just beautiful?
I truly believe that we get so distracted by things we think we’re supposed to be doing and going through the holiday motions only to completely forget what this season is truly about: about being BORN in God’s image, about a baby who came into this world to save us all so that we may know God forever. God’s only son born in a manger, the world’s greatest gift brought to us in the most humble fashion.
And because we are all made in God’s image, in Jesus’s image, each year at Christmas we all have the chance to remember our birth and our WORTH. Merry Christmas, beautiful friend. May we all be born again with Christ this Christmas.