By Fr. Reno Aiardi, I.M.C.
One of the great traditions of Christmas is the sharing of beautiful parables. Many years ago, Louis Cassels wrote a simple parable to explain the mystery of Christmas. He wrote:
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. He didn’t believe all the stuff about Incarnation, and was too honest to pretend he did. He said, “I simply cannot understand this claim that God becomes a man.”
As his family went to midnight Mass, he stayed home saying he would feel like a hypocrite if he went. He was startled by thudding sounds, like someone throwing snowballs at his window. He then found a flock of birds, huddled from the snow storm; they had desperately tried to fly through his window, seeking shelter.
He wondered how he could help them, so they would not freeze. He went outside and opened his barn door wide, he laid down bread crumbs to lure them in, and he even tried shooing them in. The birds would not come in. He wished the birds could trust him and thought, “If only I could be a bird for a few moments, I could lead them to safety.”
Just at that moment the church bells began to ring. He stood silent for awhile, listening to the bells ring the glad tiding of Christmas. Then he sank to his knees in the snow. He whispered, “Now I do understand. Now I see why You had to do it.”
And indeed, God had to do it, had to become one of us to make us understand, because despite God’s best efforts throughout all of the Old Testament we still did not get the message. Sometimes God has to communicate His message to us in different ways in order for us to understand. Christmas is God’s way of saying, “maybe this will grab your attention.”
As we continue our journey of faith with our families, parishes, diocese and the whole Catholic World we are also graciously invited to share the same faith with the Missions. True faith is not true unless it is shared.
God has spoken to us, the Word has become flesh. Let us allow God’s word to sink into our hearts and accept His invitation to enlighten our minds and souls to bring peace, joy and love to everyone we serve. May the joy and glory of the Newborn King be in your heart always, and may He bless you and your family.
Fr. Aiardi is the director of the diocesan Missions Office and administrator of St. Francis De Sales parish in Riverside.