The Power Of Story – The Christmas Story
Stories are powerful! However, sometimes something happens when we hear the word ‘story’. We associate the word story with make believe and fiction, forgetting that real life carries its own story, and that the stories of real people can be very inspiring. They show us that we, too, can live a life that counts, we can overcome challenges, find love, become successful and help others along the way.
There is one real life story, of course, that is so powerful it’s telling has caused millions of lives to be changed; that is the story of Jesus Christ's birth, life, death and resurrection. It gets retold not only at Christmas but countless times each year. With each telling another life is touched, changed or healed, and the people listening, in turn, become part of the story and its effect on mankind. That is the power of this story; the story of Christmas, of Christ.
The story of Christmas and all that followed is one of the most powerful stories I know of, and sadly for many people it is simply that – a story. Yet we know it is more than that. It really happened, and it is the story of the One who is truth and love manifesting Himself and choosing to live amongst us. Yet woven within that beautiful story of Christ's birth are the stories of the individuals that were there, that were part of it all. I wonder what their stories were in relationship to it all?
We catch glimpses of their stories in Scripture yet there is so much left unsaid…
I wonder what went through Jesus' mind as He left Heaven to come to earth. Yes, He was God, yes He could see ahead, and in seeing ahead, e saw everything. But what did He think, knowing He was coming into a place where many would not recognise who He was and what He was doing, where many would reject Him? What were his thoughts as a child growing up? When did He know who He was and where He came from? Did He know it all along, or did it come later as a result of God the Father speaking to Him? Scripture is vague and unclear about so much of His growing up years. So much of His personal story remains untold this side of heaven.
We read about Mary’s acceptance of the Lord’s will for her life, yet I wonder how she felt when the experience of talking to the angel Gabriel was over, and she had to face the fact that she was now pregnant, unmarried and in very real danger of losing her life because of cultural religious standards that were rigidly enforced, and the punishments incredibly hard for those who broke them. Being stoned to death was a very real possibility. How would her parents receive her news? What about Joseph? What about her friends? Would they understand? Would they stand by her, or call for her to be put to death?
Mary’s parents would carry the stigma of a daughter that got pregnant outside of marriage. How did they feel? How did it affect their standing in the community? What was their story of fear or faith, and coming to grips with the fact that their daughter had been chosen by God to bear the Messiah? I’m sure it wasn’t an easy road for them to walk.
Joseph was caught up in a story that would shape the world forever. Here he was, a betrothed man with the right to cast Mary aside, but God wanted him in the story, and within it he found his story forever changed. He became the one who, along with Mary, would help shape the life of the son of God, loving Him, caring for Him, and teaching Him so much. I wonder what his fears and dreams for his family were, as they made history together.
And of course, there were the shepherds, and the Magi or wise men, cousin Elizabeth, then years later John the Baptist, the disciples, those who were healed and thousands more; each had their own story that led them to this moment in time when all of history would come together to culminate in the life of Christ and be changed forever. We may never know their backstory but they are forever remembered as having a part to play in the story of Christ.
This story of Jesus His birth, life, death and resurrection, changed my life and I know it has changed many of your lives as well. It is the true story of a love so great that it transcends time, and today as we approach Christmas, you too become part of the story of Christ and of Christmas. Whether you believe it or not, celebrate it or go ‘bah humbug’, your story is woven into His story every year at this time. You’ve become a part of the greatest story ever told. What will your part in that story be, for you are part of it, and His story and yours are interwoven in a very real and eternal manner.