Sunday, December 23, 2012

Telling the Christmas Story

Have you ever been watching a movie and then just as the whole plot that has been building for nearly two hours is about to climax, somebody comes in, sits down and asks what's happening. You are left with the task of trying to quickly explain the entire movie so that they have some understanding of what is about to take place.

Or you can just tell them to be quiet and watch the end of the movie and then try to explain it to them afterwards.

Neither of these solutions gives the person a very good understanding of the overall theme or an appreciation of the end of the movie. To really appreciate the movie, they will have to watch it from beginning to end.

The same can be said for reading a good book. Skipping around in the story or jumping to the end will certainly ruin a good story.

We Christians are the worst at telling a good story. We skip over all of the Author's brilliant foreshadowing, fail to identify key characters and subplots, and try to tell a story that took centuries to unfold in a few minutes or by sharing a few passages from His Good Book.

...And then we wonder why people don't get it!

The birth of our Savior is not a story that begins with a Roman ruler's decree that a census be taken. It doesn't begin with the appearance of an angel to a young Jewish woman. It doesn't even begin hundreds of years earlier as prophets tell of the coming Messiah.

The story of the birth of Jesus doesn't begin with God's deliverance of the nation of Israel from the Egyptians and the issuing of the Ten Commandments, nor does it begin with God's promise to Abraham. The Story even begins before the Fall in the Garden of Eden.

We have this great story to tell; one that begins even before we were created, and we love the ending so much that we skip all the way to the part just before the "...and they all lived happily ever after" part and expect people to understand the significance of the moment when God left heaven to become man; when the sinless God-man, Jesus, took on the sins of the world and the punishment for our sins that we might have eternal life.

While we're at it, let's face the reality that many Christians have never even read the entire story. We've satisfied ourselves with the highlights. We've decided that it isn't important to know the details of being a follower of Jesus, after all--we've prayed the magical prayer, haven't we? Many Christians have fooled themselves into believing that they are followers of Jesus but they really don't even know Him.

We pick the parts of the story that we love. We pick the verses that we recite to justify our social/moral/political beliefs. We pick the loving God for us, the judgmental God for others and forget that God loves the others, too, and that we will also stand before Him and be judged.

It is not an easy story. It's not easy to tell. It's not easy understand. And it's not easy to live.
We must humble ourselves before God and honor Him as Lord.

As we share the Christmas Story this season, let's remember that not everybody has heard the whole story. Let's share The Story with compassion and patience. Let's allow the Spirit of God to work as we share the Love of God. Let's remember there is more to the Christmas Story than the birth of Jesus.

Merry Christmas
John <><


eViL pOp TaRt said...

How true!

May the blessings of this joyous Christmas season be with you and your loved ones!

Mike said...

Good story about the story.

Kevin said...

Very well said, John.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.


Amanda said...

You make a good point here.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.