Christmas is Good Story Telling
December 24, 2015
If you’re going to tell a story, better go for broke. I’m a professional story-teller (which usually means I spend my time unemployed) but God does it for free. The universe is a story written by God and by “story” I mean that it has a beginning, a middle, and we can assume it has an end. I know a good story when I read one; the stars in the sky are great visuals, Earth is a wonderful setting and we are the characters that God fearfully and wonderfully crafted.
While this epic has many beats, the Christmas story is the most amazing plot twist ever told. God could have written a shabby thing, a hack job, but he didn’t. He made a mind-blowing masterpiece by which all other stories are compared.
Most stories begin with a conflict, at least that’s what they told me in writing class. It goes like this; conflict, crisis, then resolution. It begins with a conflict because something emblematic ought to start a story. The Christmas story starts with man’s fallen state. We’re in trouble, a fallen race of murderous, largely incapable beings with nothing but death to look forward to. What a great start! You’ve got these pagan magicians following a star in the sky looking for a legendary Messiah.
Jesus is born. He isn’t just born to anyone, but he’s born to a virgin in case you missed that there’s magic in the air. God takes on a human body and comes as a baby. It’s the details of this story that are so packed with meaning that it has mesmerized the minds of men for thousands of years. The tip top being that ever existed didn’t come to the world as a thunderous God, he came as one of us. He came as a helpless baby, probably covered in blood, born in a food trough in a filth-soaked cave. That’s God Himself who comes as the low, because his majesty isn’t threatened by people seeing him low. He knows who He is. This God made himself vulnerable, I suspect, because the rest of the story depicts him as going after the low people. This mud baby-God would be raised like the rest of us. He spends much of his life as a carpenter, associated with unschooled fisherman, hookers and tax cheats. He sought no respect from seats of power because he owned the ultimate seat of power. Why should the creator of earthly kings have need of an earthly king’s respect?
Finally, it’s the God part of Jesus’ identity that is the big taco. If he was merely a good teacher, or a humanitarian who inspired us to give good to the poor, he wouldn’t draw so much mockery. The big threat is that this is God, the creator of everything, walking around in the form of a regular Joe. His perfection as God is absolute and it allowed him to be the only sinless human to exist. Like I said, if you’re going to tell a story, better go for broke and nothing goes for broke more than asking you to suspend your disbelief that the creator of men came as a man to die for murderers. The spectacle of the Christmas story alone makes me slack jawed at every hearing. It’s still the greatest story I’ve ever heard and we’re not even at the end yet.