The Christmas Bill

My peaceful walk through the forest was disturbed by sounds of distress. It was a goose wildly shaking his bill, caught in some type of barbed wire. As I cautiously approached, I could see it was scared. My help would only panic him more. I called Animal Control, who amazingly came right over. They sedated the bird to prevent further damage from his thrashing about. Task complete, I began to walk away.

“Wait, ma’am, we need some information.”

“Well, I don’t know what more I can add,” I said.

“We need a contact number for the bird,” the officer replied.

“I don’t think he has a phone.”

The officer was hardly amused. “The fact is that someone has to take responsibility for a vet to get involved.”

“You mean they won’t just treat and release him? I said.

“It’s a goose; they’re not the most loved birds. And vets can’t afford to treat every case.”

“So they need someone to pay for the visit, is that it?

“That’s it. And if you can’t, we should just put him down right here.”

Wow, not worthy of being saved. How sad. 

I thought about Christmas; it was right around the corner. The gifts and food, the travel and clothes … the bills were adding up. I must confess, a Christmas goose dinner crossed my mind. One less expense. But as I looked around, I spied a slightly smaller goose hiding in the brush. My eyes teared as I realized it was his mate, waiting to see the fate of her partner. He was important to her. Human partnerships can be as fleeting as the wind. One out of every two marriages in the US ends in divorce, yet geese will mate for life. Though I doubt love is the driving force to their fidelity, love was definitely the driving force for my decision. I reflected on the love God has for me. For each of His sheep. Not willing for even one to go astray. So I gave my information. I would pay this Christmas bill.

The detestable reputation of the goose reminded me how quickly we can discount people we deem undesirable. Yet, God deems us all worthy. His love and compassion are free gifts He offers to everyone. May we see others as He sees us.

As for the geese … I fed the female so she would stick around until her mate was returned, then quietly watched as she swam to his side.

So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.  Matthew 18:14 NIV

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