Â Telling Christmas Stories
I love the telling of a good story whether through words or pictures. This time of year steeps with stories of tradition, sentiments, and love. The telling of stories at Christmas appeal to both the young and old but sometimes it gets confusing in our world’s ever seeming secular Christmas on what exactly the celebration is about. There is the most important story of the Nativity mixing in with Santa, elves, and reindeer; each with their own stories that though separate hold a veil of connection within the celebration.
There is a homeowner in my town that really goes all out at Christmas attempting to tell all of the stories at once through their lawn display. There is the manger scene surrounded with Santa Claus, a sleigh, reindeer, and the like. Each year additions to the display arrive creating a patchwork quilt of disconnection held together only by the misaligned notion that they belong to Christmas. It is a scene of festivity to behold but to people who may not be well secure in the true meaning of Christmas a mixed up version of the grand celebration of Christ’s Mass quickly occurs.
The Ultimate Festivity Scene
The Episcopal rector of St Paul’s in Henderson tells of a mixed up Christmas he viewed one Christmas Eve. The scene he remembers challenges the amazing festivity of my local dedicated Christmas family. The rector recalls the scene holding a bit of everything or maybe a lot of everything. A Winter Wonderland with several singing carolers dressed in Victorian splendor holding their music with mouths opened in a good vowel shape. Santa, his inflatable self, standing jolly and round driving his weighted-down sleigh with a team of reindeer led by the one and only Rudolph with his very real blinking red light nose. Giant plastic candles with ”Joy” and ”Noel” written down the side find their place among the army of snow-people that obviously look to their extra-large leader, Frosty, with his stove-pipe hat and button nose.
On the other side of the yard a full manger scene is in view. Baby Jesus lays in the manger with his arms outstretched of his plastic swaddling clothing with Mary and Joseph in attendance. Shepherds with sheep join the ox and ass. While the Wise Men hold no concern that they arrived early to the scene. One stands next to a camel with his chest of gold, one on bended knee bearing his frankincense, while the third stands by with myrrh. On top of the stable there is not just one angel but a heavenly host of two.
The display, something to behold in the daylight, is astounding at night with enough lights to create a black-out. And the entire scene finds its integration with the words Merry Christmas spelled out in cursive multi-colored chaser lights. As mixed up as the entire scene was however nothing recreated the telling of the story like viewed on that Christmas Eve morning.
What Happens When the Story is Rearranged?
That year, during the night, someone took the liberty of rearranging the homeowner’s handiwork. The three Wise Men displaced Santa as the driver of the sleigh. While Rudolph, the ass, an ox, and two sheep fly over the stable top. Joseph now performs an acrobatic maneuver as he stands precariously on top of the camel’s hump. While the carolers cradle angels in their outstretched arms, Frosty and his snow-people gather around the Blessed Virgin in a somewhat frightening manner. And in the middle of it all, lay the little Lord Jesus. But now He has a rather steady heavenly glow. He pulses with a stroboscopic effect with the manger, swaddling clothes, and halo. And so on that year on this homeowner’s front lawn, in all its glitzy splendor rang a prime example of the mixed up telling of the Christmas story where the secular invades the sacred.
If the telling of stories is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world as Robert McKee says, then what happens when our stories get all mixed together? Has the tree, lights, and presents became their own story independent of the original meaning of Christ’s coming? It appears Advent is now the time for the stressful preparation of feasts, holiday parties, and gatherings of crowds. People loudly sing along to multiple versions ofÂ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer but aren’t really sure how he brings peace to earth. Are we, as Christians, just as guilty of the mix-ups? Do we allow family togetherness and special holiday fantasy foods to appear as the real meaning of Christmas while the Christ Child stands to the side? What happens to the power of telling the greatest story to the world when we, too, lose our focus?
The Importance of Telling the Real Story
The Apostle Paul says that life is nothing unless used for God’s work. As we move into the world during this last week of Advent, into the Christmas Tide, and beyond perhaps it is time that we become single-focused. The Christmas season allows us to reflect upon the beginning of the greatest story ever told but this isn’t the end of the story. It is in the telling of the beginning of this story and its sequels that we should reflect on our one God-given task, we are to accomplish here on earth. Our mission and place is to tell the world the living story of Christ and the beauty of God’s grace.
It is easy to get caught up in the world’s Christmas values especially when those values appear as good things but shining above all, the focus on Christ remains a must. The joy and peace of Christmas lasts with us all year when Christ is the focus of our life. It is our purpose in telling and showing the world the Good News about God’s bountiful grace that makes all of our life celebratory.
This year won’t you allow your Christmas and life to ring with the telling of all people everywhere, The Story. Â Let them experience the grace of God and find the joy of peace within themselves too. It is the greatest gift you will ever share. Telling the story begins by boldly letting people know that you worship Christ and why. Remember that the birth is only the beginning. Its story quickly unfolds to all audiences as it is clear that you don’t have to be rich, educated, or privileged in any way to experience God’s grace.
The Unfinished Story
So let others know you care by boldly proclaiming your faith through sharing the news of the real story beginning with the birth. Enthrall your audience with the telling of the dramatic sequel that assures a home in eternity. And give others the comfort of knowing that all believers remain in the ready and wait mode for the last and final story release where all take part in the living story.
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus ”“ the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. Acts 20:24 (NLT)
Love in Christ,
J.K. Rowling said that there’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place. The story of Christ is certainly ”The Story” that can permanently transport people to the other side of eternity.
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
What are your thoughts on telling the beginning of the greatest story ever told? Do you find it easy to let the stories of Christmas get mixed-up in seemingly harmless things? Join us in discussion on the quirky confusions of the Christmas story.