No Substitute for the Real Thing

Merwin VanDoornik

READ : 2 John 1:12-13

John was grateful to be able to write his friends, but he knew that face-to-face contact would be even better. When God taught us about Himself He wrote a Book but, more importantly, He visited us in Jesus.

A man did not believe that “Incarnation Stuff” the churches preached: “I am sorry if I upset you,” he said to his wife. “But I will not accompany you and the children to church on Christmas eve. I would be a hypocrite.”

Shortly after the family left, a winter storm began. He felt sorry for a flock of birds huddled in the cold, flying into a picture window as they attempted to escape the snow and howling wind. He realized his barn would provide shelter. He quickly put on a coat and boots. He tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors and turned on the light. But the birds did not come.

He spread corn from birds to barn to entice them but they still did not come. He realized the problem: they were afraid of him. “If only I could become a bird I could show them the way to the warm, safe barn.” Just then the church’s carillon began to play: “Hark, the herald angels sing…Pleased as man with men to dwell….” And he sank to his knees in the snow (adapted from Louis Cassels. Complete version available from Mr. Van Doornik).


We praise You, Jesus, that “mild You laid Your glory by, born that we no more may die. . . .” Amen.