Along with the usual favorites of the birth of Jesus or Twas the Night Before Christmas, I always love reading Christmas Stories. Stories touch us all in different ways. Jesus himself understood this and taught in parables, or short story lessons. With that in mind, I have found a few short Christmas ‘parables’ that I would like to share with you, which I thought were very touching and help us to keep Christmas in perspective.
Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!
1) The Heaping Pile
By Dr. Richard P. Bucher
A Pastor once gave a talk to children at a Sunday School Christmas party. He began by directing their attention to a heaping pile sitting atop a table. “Everything in this pile,” he informed them, “are things that remind us of Christmas and fill our hearts with happiness.” On the very top of the pile was an ornament and a piece of tinsel. “These remind us of the Christmas tree.” Right below them in the pile was a candy cane. “Who can celebrate Christmas without these?” he wondered with a smile.
One by one he sifted through the pile, removing the items as he went. As he held up each item, he asked the children to shout out what it was: mistletoe, Christmas cookies, a toy Santa, reindeer, a snowman, tree lights, Christmas candles, colorful wrapping paper, ribbons and bows, presents of various sizes, toy elves, a wreath, and a picture of carolers. There was even a little sleigh with bells attached to it. “Jingle Bells,” the children shouted excitedly.
When the Pastor neared the bottom of the pile, he put his hand over his mouth in mocked surprise, and exclaimed, “Will you look at this? What do we have here?” As the children swarmed around the table, the Pastor stepped to the side so they all could see. There on the very bottom of the pile, the very last object to be seen, was a miniature baby Jesus in a manger. It had been buried beneath all the other items. “What do you think of this?” asked the Pastor. “Should the baby Jesus have been on the bottom of the pile like this?” “No,” they replied. “He should have been on the top!” “But why?” the Pastor wanted to know. “Because Christmas is Jesus’ birthday!” they chimed in unison.
Now it was time for the Pastor to explain. “Children, all of the things in this pile don’t really have anything to do with the real meaning of Christmas, Jesus’ birthday. They are holiday customs that many Christians and non-Christians use at Christmas time, but they are just customs. There is nothing wrong with using these things, in fact they can be a lot of fun. But we need to be careful that we don’t pay so much attention to these holiday customs, that they bury baby Jesus, and cause us to not think of him as much, or maybe forget him altogether. For without baby Jesus our Savior, there is no Christmas, no matter how many holiday customs we have. The real joy and happiness of Christmas, is that Jesus Christ our Savior has been born for us.” Without him, these other things are nothing. Right?” “Right,” the children shouted.
2) Why did Jesus Come?
One raw winter night a farmer heard an irregular thumping sound against his 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 the 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 to the barn. Nothing worked. He, a huge, alien creature, had terrified them; the birds couldn’t comprehend that he actually desired to help. The farmer withdrew to his house and watched the doomed sparrows through a window. As he stared, a thought hit him like lightning from a clear blue sky: 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 grasped the reason Jesus was born. (As told by Paul Harvey)