Geese and the Snowstorm
There was once a man who did not believe in either the virgin birth of Christ nor the spiritual meaning behind it, and was skeptical even about God. He lived in a farm community. It was a poultry farm, with ducks and chickens, and a large flock of geese, which were the man’s pride.
He had no family of his own. He lived with his housekeeper and her two small children.
His housekeeper was a devout believer and diligently raised her children in the faith. He sometimes ridiculed her piety and mocked her religious observances.
“It’s all nonsense — why would God lower himself and become a human like us? It’s such a ridiculous story,” he said.
Even though he was not religious, he loved Christmas. Of all the fowl, he loved goose the best. And Christmas was the day the housekeeper would make his favorite meal.
She was an excellent cook and her specialty was goose.
All year long he would gorge on goose liver, fricasseed goose, breaded fried goose, baked goose with goose neck gravy. He had grown stout and ruddy with the goose fat drippings he dribbled onto his fried mush every morning. He loved to feel the grease run down his chin as he chewed the savory mouthfuls.
But on Christmas she would make her famous Goose La Orange, with oranges specially trucked in for the event, with sage goose stuffing and thick goose giblet gravy. He would sop it up with goose fat smeared on freshly baked bread.
On that snowy, windy Christmas morning, while it was still dark, she and the children left for church, almost two hours away by buggy. The man went out to pick a goose from the gaggle to kill and hang from the barn rafters to bleed out, as he did every weekend of the year. But this day, he wanted the fattest, plumpest goose for his favorite meal.
As he opened the door, he noticed that the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blinding snowstorm.
He fought his way against the wind, panting as he trudged through the snow, already deeper than his boots.
The chickens were snug in their coops, and the ducks were nested deep in the hay in the crawlspace under the house. But the geese usually roamed free in the yard, hearty enough to stand most weather.
But they were not in the little fenced side yard. He saw the fence had blown down and they geese had escaped. His breath was frozen in the air and icicles formed on his beard as he struggled about they farmyard looking for them in the early morning darkness.
He finally saw them, huddled together in a corner of the barnyard, nearly covered with snow.
They were stranded, with no food or shelter, unable to do more than flutter their wings or crowd closer together, too cold and weary to move from the spot. He had compassion for them and wanted to help them. He thought to himself, they will all die if left out in this blizzard.
He must get them in the barn. It was warm and safe; surely they burrow into the straw and be warm and safe and wait out the storm. He struggled to open the barn doors for them, for the snow was piled high in front of the doors. He panted with exertion as he pushed them open as wide as he could..
He waited, watching the geese in the gloom before dawn, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. The geese, stupid in the best of times, were too cold and miserable to stir, or did not notice the barn and realize what it could mean warmth and safety for them. He moved closer toward the geese to get their attention, but they just herded closer together, shrinking away from him out of fear.
He was very cold now, and starting to get frustrated. He needed to get them inside, kill one and get it bled out so that his housekeeper could start to prepare it when she returned in a few hours.
He trudged through the snow behind the geese and tried to shoo them toward the barn. They panicked and flapped their wings and scattered into every direction except toward the barn.
He waved his arms in vain and tried to heard them together. He shambled, panting, after the geese trying to catch them one by one. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn, nor could he manage to grasp any of them to throw them in.
He stood panting and thought, as the geese watched him and he them.
He changed tactics and tried to call to them in a wheedling voice as he threw handfuls of feed toward them. They settled back into a mass in the snow and seemed uninterested in feed.
“Why don’t they follow me? Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm? How can I possibly get them into the one place to save them?”
He began to feel empathy for the geese, they looked so forlorn and unhappy there in the snow. He felt a little guilty about the way he had always thought of them as nothing but a meal.
The man had forgotten about killing one for his favorite meal, he was tired and freezing and sick with weariness from struggling through the snow. He was unused to such exercise and breathed heavily as he thought about what to do next.
The man said to himself, “How can I possibly save them? The only way would be for me to become like those geese. If only I could become like one of them. Then I could save them. They would follow me and I would lead them to safety.”
At that moment, he stopped and considered what he had said. The words reverberated in his mind:
“If only I could become like one of them, then I could save them,” he said, panting and feeling very, very tired and old.
Then, at last, he understood God’s heart towards mankind, why he had become a man himself to be the Saviour, and to teach men how to love each other. As the sun peeped over the horizon, the man fell on his knees in the snow, the first rays of light falling on his glowing, ruddy red face.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.
Then while the man was there on his knees, contemplating the beauty of God, at that exact moment of his Epiphany, he felt a numbness in his arm. He tasted metal, and there was a pounding in his head. He fell heavily in the snow, paralyzed by pain.
All those years of rich, fatty goose-flesh had clogged his arteries and fattened his own heart. He suffered a massive coronary that nearly killed him outright. As it was, he was helpless and prone in the snow.
It was getting colder and snow began to cover his body. He had already lost feeling in his fingers and toes, and the numbness in his arm was moving towards this chest. He could not move his legs nor his arms.
He heard a rustling sound and saw the geese gather round him. He was grateful for the warm as they piled tight around and on him.
He was just starting to regain feeling in his extremities when he felt a sharp pain.
The geese began pecking the man to pieces. They started with the softer parts of his body and head, where they could more easily pull off his fat, succulent flesh and gouge out his eyes to reach the sweet brain meat within.
The snow stopped and the sun came out.
Christmas morning was dawning bright and clear.
(based on a true Christmas Story, as told by a little boy who witnessed it as a very young child)