I recently had someone ask me, “What does the Mas in Christmas mean? I had another person ask me, ”Why did God have to come to earth and become one of us?”
Well I recently read a little story that I believe answers both of those questions.
Once there was an elderly gentleman that lived alone. He lived a simple life as a humble farmer. He believed in God but he did not believe in the incarnation. He did not believe that God came to earth and became one of us by becoming an infant. To him that made no sense. He could not accept the fact that an all powerful God would become a helpless little baby boy. Consequently, Christmas to him was a meaningless holiday.
Well late in the afternoon one Christmas Eve, as a light snow was gently falling, the farmer was out putting his cows back into the barn, leaving his geese in the field. He looked up and saw his neighbors going down the road past his farm on their way to Church for Christmas Eve Mass. How foolish, he thought!
As he returned to the house, the snow began to fall more heavily. Once inside, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. After a short while he looked outside and saw a blinding snowstorm. He was warm and comfortable but he thought of his geese. He felt sorry for them out there in that snowstorm. He thought to himself, “The barn would be a great place for them to stay. It’s warm and it’s safe. Surely they could spend the night in there and wait out the storm.” So he put on his coat and went back outside, opened the barn door, and proceeded to shoo the geese toward the barn. They just scattered and went in every direction except toward the barn. Frustrated, he ran after them to chase them toward the barn. They scattered all the more.
Feeling totally frustrated, he thought, “Why don’t they follow me? Can’t they see that the barn is the one safe place where they can survive the storm? How can I possibly get them to go into the one place that is safe for them tonight?”
He stood silently for a moment allowing his thoughts to reverberate back to himself in his mind. “If only I could become like one of them, then they would understand and I could save them.” He thought about this as the winds blew and the snow swirled around him. And the realization hit him like a bolt of lightning. In an instant he knew what Christmas was all about. He knew why Christ had to come.
Miraculously, in the same instant, the snow abated. He left his field and he ran to the Church to join his neighbors in worshiping the New Born King.
You see, the word Christmas is made up of two words: “Christ” and “Mass”. In the early Church, the annual mass which celebrated the birth of Christ was known as the Mass of Christ, or Christ’s Mass, or as we call it, Christmas. At Christmas, we gather together to worship the New Born King; knowing that because of His love for us, He became one of us, simply to show us the way and to save us. May the true spirit of Christmas be always in your heart.