storiesIn the weeks that lead up to the hustle and bustle of Christmas no doubt many a television set will tune in to a wide variety of Christmas movies. Whether it’s a Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, Scrooged or the Grinch families will be entertained. These movies tell stories which we enjoy, they amuse us, move us and many encourage us to become better than we are.

Christmas is a time for stories. We hear these stories in the movies we watch, the books we read and the conversations we have. We regale them when we gather with family and friends. Our stories remind us of who we are and of where we have come from. Stories form part of our social identity and they comprise our oral history.

Stories come in a variety of formats. Movies, television, books, poetry and music. These mediums inform a part of who we are and explain how we understand our surroundings. Each of these becomes a part of our story.

Music is an influential part of how I understand my own story. Dancing with my wife to Michael Bublé on our wedding night, remembering the song from a particular summer or music which helped me through a difficult time. One song which forms a part of my story references another favourite story. In U2’s Wake Up Dead Man we hear the following, “Tell me the story, the one about eternity and the way it’s all going to be.”

This is a story that I am interested in, the one about eternity. This is the story which is at the heart of Christmas. A story which begins all stories and it is the story to end all stories. It is rich with drama, intrigue, compassion and mystery. A story that we get caught up in, our own lives become entangled with the family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

We can relate to the many characters we find in the story. The pregnant mother, the worried father, new parents in a strange and scary world. The innkeeper who showed compassion and provided a meager place to stay. We wonder about the angels who bore witness to the event or perhaps we share the curiosity of the shepherds; we wonder and question about this child. Perhaps we come as the magi did with gifts of love and a desire to learn.

The Nativity is a story which endures because it tells us of the birth of Jesus and it is central to understanding how God interacted with creation. However, it has also captured our imaginations because of the uniquely human drama it portrays. Christmas evokes emotions of wonder, fear, majesty, sadness, curiosity, anger and love.

It is a story which whether we realize it or are willing to admit it has shaped our own story. The nativity has coloured our understanding of the world. That at Christmas God elected to join with creation in the most vulnerable way to share in our joy and our sorrow, our pain and our hope.

As we approach Christmas I encourage you to share the hope and joy that is found in the old, old story of God’s love.

* A Time for Stories first appeared in the Northumberland Today on December 10, 2015.