There is nothing like getting lost in a story. I love so many different storytellers: from John Irving to JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis to Stephen King (and yes, Harper Lee)….Stories are deeply affecting–they arehow we define ourselves, our world, and each other. As I was reading through the Gospel narratives of the birth of Jesus this morning, I was stirred by the uniqueness and truth of the story we are celebrating this weekend. Here are a couple of my favorite moments:
The Gospel of Matthew tells us about Joseph’s experience, “…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife… She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins’… and they will call him ‘Immanuel’ — which means ‘God with us.'”
Luke tells about the shepherds busy in the fields the night of Jesus’ birth: But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'”
I hope you will take a moment to read the passages from Matthew and Luke this weekend and consider what they mean in your life. I was taken with something so exceptional as I read the Gospels and compared them to some of my favorite stories. What makes this story sodistinctive and significant is that the Author and Creator of the very characters and landscapes, moved into His own Creation. Not only did He physically step into His own creative narrative; but He purposely placed Himself at the mercy of His own characters! Eugene Peterson calls Jesus’ birth “the act of God moving into the neighborhood”. It might be even more poignant to consider that the Author of your story –the Author of all our stories has come — and not just to any neighborhood –but, to ours. “Immanuel” – the Author is with us.
Merry Christmas, Everyone!