December 13, 2021

The Geese in a Blizzard: A Russian Christmas Parable

There was a man who did not believe in God and did not hesitate to tell everyone about his attitude to religion and religious holidays. However, his wife believed in God and raised her children in the faith, despite her husband's caustic attacks.

One winter evening, the wife went with the children to the service at the local village church. There should have been a sermon on the Nativity of Christ. The wife asked her husband to go with them, but he refused. “This whole story is nonsense!" - he said - "Why did God suddenly need to humiliate Himself and appear on Earth in the form of a man? This is ridiculous!"

And so his wife and children left, but he stayed at home. A little later, a strong wind rose and a blizzard began. The man looked out the window, but saw only the snow whirlwind covering everything. He sat down in a chair by the fireplace and was going to spend the whole evening like that. Suddenly he heard a loud bang: something banged on the window. He went to the window, but could not see anything. When the blizzard subsided a little, the man went out into the street to see what could have hit like that.

On the field near the house, he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently, they flew south for the winter, but got caught in a snow storm and could not fly further. They got lost and found themselves near his farm without food or shelter. Flapping their wings, they flew in low circles over the field, blinded by the snow. Apparently, it was one of the geese who knocked on his window. The man felt sorry for these poor geese, and he wanted to help them. He thought that the barn would be the right place for them. It's warm and safe there, they could surely spend the night there and wait out the blizzard. He went to the barn, opened its doors wide and waited, hoping that the geese, when they saw, would enter there.

But the geese only circled aimlessly and did not seem to notice the barn doors or did not understand what it was for. The man tried to get their attention, but this only scared the geese, and they flew farther and farther. Then the man went into the house and returned with a piece of bread; he crumbled it, making a path out of bread crumbs that led to the barn. But the geese did not succumb to this either.

He was already on the verge of despair. He went in behind and tried to drive them to the barn, but the geese only got even more frightened and began to fly to the sides - in different directions, but not to the barn.

Nothing could force them to go to the barn, where they would be warm and safe. “Why don't the geese follow me?" The man exclaimed. "Can't they see that only here they can survive in such a storm?" He thought a little and realized that they simply did not want to follow the person. “Now, if I were a goose, I could save them,” he said aloud. Then he got an idea. He went into the barn, took one of his geese and carried him out in his arms into the field, away from the circling wild geese. Then he released his goose. The goose flew through the flock and returned straight to the barn - and one by one, all the other geese followed him to the rescue shelter.

The man stood quietly for a minute, and suddenly the same words sounded in his head that he had said a few minutes ago: "Now, if I were a goose, I could save them!" And then he remembered what he said to his wife a little earlier. “Why would God want to become like us? This is ridiculous!" And suddenly everything became clear. This is exactly what God did. We were like these geese - blind, lost, perishing. God sent His Son to become like us so that He could show us the way and save us.

When the wind and blinding snow began to subside, his soul also calmed down and was pacified by this beautiful thought. Suddenly he understood why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief disappeared with the passing storm. He fell on his knees in the snow and said his first prayer in his life: "Thank you, Lord, for coming in the form of a man to lead me out of the storm!"

Source: Author Unknown. Translation by John Sanidopoulos.