If Only I Could Be a Bird
Written by: Maddie Wilson
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And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
- James 4:6
Around October of my freshman year, I really began struggling with questions and confusion I had about my faith. To be more specific, I knew that Jesus came down from Heaven and died to save us from our sins; I had been taught that from the time I was a child. What I was struggling with was why.
I never had taken the time to fully grasp the whole concept. I asked myself questions like “Why DID Jesus have to die to save us from our sins? Why did His death have to be so horrible and violent? How did Jesus dying mean that even my most horrible sins were forgiven?” I had a million questions, but the one that stuck out the most was this: why did Jesus have to become fully man, humbling Himself as a human, and experience human life here on Earth to save us? Moreover, why would He? I became so desperate for answers I turned to Google (I mean seriously), but no information I found was enough to satisfy me and only left me questioning even more.
After relentlessly asking my friends and Google, I eventually had given up on my search for the answers and understanding I desperately desired. I ultimately became okay with the fact that if God wanted me to figure it out, I would. After what felt like decades, the holiday season had arrived and I found myself at Christmas mass with my family. Admittedly, my mind had wandered off to the middle of nowhere until I brought my attention back to the story being told from the front of the Church.
The story was Paul Harvey’s “The Man and The Birds.” Harvey’s story describes a small family on the night of Christmas Eve. While the mother and children were getting ready for Church, the father explained to his wife that he would not be attending the service this year as he was questioning his faith and would feel hypocritical. He described how he couldn’t understand why Jesus would come to Earth and take human form, experience human trials and suffering, and even make his arrival in something so lowly as a stable and a manger when He was God.
Eventually, the family left for the service and left the father behind. After while, a heavy snow began to fall and birds began hitting the man’s window. He could not leave the birds outside to freeze, so he went outside and tried leading the birds to the family’s barn. To no avail the man continued trying to lead the birds, but they were so afraid of him and did not trust him (he was a strange and scary being to them, after all). He thought to himself, “If only I could be a bird, they would trust me and I could show them the way.” At that same moment in the story, it was not only the father who had been given an understanding but also myself.
The story held the answers and understanding I had been searching so desperately for, and I felt so much closer to my Heavenly Father upon hearing it. Even further, it revealed to me who He is; how sweet it is that Jesus is humble enough to make himself human, experience human suffering, and die a violent death on the cross for our sins.
In the Christmas season, it is even more plain to me how humble He is as He defied expectations by arriving in a stable and being laid in a manger. As the verse above says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Jesus was humble in coming down from Heaven to assume human form, and He showed us the way to being humble by being laid in a manger.
1. What does being humble look like for you?
2. What in Jesus’ life has helped show us the way to being humble?
Jesus, I am so grateful for Your humbleness. I am grateful that You loved us enough to assume human form and show us the way. I praise You for arriving on Christmas day to save us from our sins and for arriving so humbly in that manger. I pray that You are with me in my journey in imitating you in being that humble and defying expectations in Your name. I ask that You put it on my heart each day to act with humility and be the proof of Your love in the world.
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