Christmas Stories

I admire the power of story. A well-told tale can pluck us from our current life then insert us into some totally different place and time. Along the way, the story can make us care about the hero/heroine and hope that person emerges victorious, whether the opposition comes in the form of bad guys, challenging goals, or a difficult situation. Through story, we can experience a wide range of emotions, almost as if we, ourselves, were living those experiences. A story that we truly enjoy will provide a feeling of satisfaction by The End. We may have even learned something about life.

As we approach the end of 2019, I notice several friends reminiscing about favorite Christmas stories, both books and movies. (A few confess already binging on Hallmark videos!) Does your own favorite story involving Christmastime include Dr. Marcia Fieldstone? Or romance? A Red Ryder BB Gun? Or maybe Cindy Who down in Whoville? 

Some stories we all know. But chances are you’ve enjoyed a Christmas story that isn’t familiar to everyone. One Christmas movie I’ve watched several times is The Christmas Card. In it, U.S. Army Master Sergeant Cody Cullen is serving in Afghanistan when a fellow soldier gives him a Christmas card from a church in that soldier’s hometown of Nevada City, California. Somehow, the sincere words of that card bolster Cody despite the violence around him. After the soldier who gave him the card is killed, Cody goes to visit his widow in little Nevada City and accidentally meets Faith, the woman who penned the Christmas card… (I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it. Just trust me, this movie has a warm, feel-good ending.)

How about you? If there’s a book or movie involving Christmas that you especially like, please comment below. Give us the title, and maybe a brief word about why you like that story. Sharing now will give others a chance to see it in the 7 weeks before Christmas. 

P.S. In case you’ve never seen The Christmas Card, here are two links. The choice is yours: Watch it in English, or in Russian!

In English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GBAtOxyhEk

На русском: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzXMZ2AsGRk

The Author Who Entered His Own Story

Like any novelist, I conjure the characters in my stories out of my own imagination. I decide what they will look like, how they will talk, and which talents and abilities each one will possess. In the case of my fantasy novel, Kiriath’s Quest,I even invented the world in which my characters live. But no human author can finish his manuscript and then “beam down” into his story to live inside it and talk among those characters he created.

God is an author, too, but He’s definitely not limited in the way human authors are limited. Out of His imagination, and for His own good pleasure, God imagined what we call “the universe,” and He created it! He further imagined inhabitants called men and women, who would have physical natures (bodies), and would also have non-physical natures (souls). It pleased God to manifest Himself to the first humans (Adam and Eve) and to fellowship with His created beings.

But there came a time when the first two humans decided to distrust God. They wanted to be like Him, to decide  good and bad, and to ignore His one prohibition and to eat the forbidden fruit. After their disobedience, their physical bodies looked the same, but they had corrupted their own souls. They lost the perfect communion they once had with their Creator.

But God—the Author of Creation—didn’t shred His manuscript. In order redeem and restore part of mankind, God did the unimaginable plot twist: He manifested a portion of Himself to “beam down”—to be born of a virgin (the first Christmas) and to grow physically and to walk and talk inside His creation as part of it. What a mind-blowing idea! This is why the angel who explained events to Joseph, Mary’s husband to be, told him the child would be called Immanuel, meaning “God with us” (Matthew 1).

While living on earth in human form, God (named Jesus in this form) taught people spiritual Truth and healed their afflictions. But more importantly, He lived a sinless life, and then permitted flawed and sinful soldiers to capture Him and nail Him to a cross for execution. (Just imagine—an author being murdered when the violent characters in his story rise up against him? Whoa!) In this way, God Himself—in the person of Jesus—voluntarily took on Himself the punishment for the sins of the human race. But humans can’t defeat God. Jesus rose from the dead. Ever since, any person who wants to be reconciled with God and to rejoin His family can do so. “…Whoever believes in him [Jesus Christ] may have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Believing in God is good, but that’s not enough. Do you believe and accept Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf? “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18).

This Christmas, I wish all of you a wonderful, festive time with friends and family. But don’t let the whole purpose of Christmas slip by without recognizing its importance: our Creator did what no human could so that you and I could have cleansing from sin and rejoin His family forever. If you’ve never prayed and accepted Christ as Savior, let this be the year you do!