Every year for many years (most things in my life these days seem to be “for many years”) I have written a Christmas story for Christmas Day that seeks to communicate something about the nature of this season to children.

Christmas Story 2017

This year’s story went in an unusual direction for me and became an imaginative exploration into the theology of the Incarnation. Not sure how it went down this morning with our Christmas morning gathering. But here is my 2017 Christmas story:

How The Rain Returned:
A Christmas Story 2017

Many years ago the people of the world were struggling in a frightening darkness. People were confused and sad; they felt lost and uncertain. No one knew where to turn to seek the light.

Neighbours fought with neighbours they had lived peacefully beside for years. Friends did not trust one another; families were broken apart. Every day there was terrible violence in the streets of villages where once people had lived in peace; robbers stole anything they could find that might have any value. It seemed as if chaos reigned in the land.

The sound of soldiers’ boots was heard in the streets of every town; no one felt safe or secure even in their own homes. Gentleness seemed to have fled from every heart.

But worst of all, the earth was afflicted with drought. There had been no rain for months. The crops lay shrivelled in parched fields; cattle were dying. Children went to bed hungry; parents hunted desperately for ways to feed their families.

God saw the turmoil that had come upon the earth and God felt sad.

One day God summoned his Son and his Spirit to a meeting to discuss the many problems facing the people of the earth. God wondered what might be done to restore peace and light to the human community. God and his Son and his Spirit talked for a long time, but they could not find a solution.

Finally, God said, “Well then we must wait. We must wait until we have an idea how to draw people back to the goodness we know is their true nature. We must continue to seek a plan that will help people find their way again.”

A few days later, God’s Son came to speak to God. He said, “I think I may have an idea.”

God listened carefully as he always does when his children speak.

God’s Son asked his Father, “What if I go and live among the people of the earth? I could show them that your way is the way of love and peace. I could teach them that all their great schemes and plans are not going to solve their problems if they don’t begin with hearts that are open to love.”

God thought about his Son’s plan. Then God said, “Your plan sounds risky. What if you go to earth and you forget about me? You might lose your way like all the other people who have forgotten me. Or, what if, you go to earth and the people of the world fail to see who you truly are? What if they reject the love you have come to show and turn against you? Some people have hate in their hearts; they don’t want love. They might hurt you; they might even choose to kill you. Your plan sounds too dangerous.”

God’s Son replied, “I know my plan is risky. But something has to wake people up. They need to see that their lives are not working. I think I can show them a better way.”

God said, “Let me think about your plan. I will give you an answer in a few days.”

While he waited, God’s Son watched the peoples of the earth. Every day they seemed to become more angry, more greedy, and more sad. The beautiful world God had created was becoming more deeply wounded as each day passed.

And still, the rain did not come. The terrible drought continued to ravage the earth. The fields got more and more brown and barren. People were beginning to starve.

God’s Son waited for his Father’s answer. After many days God’s Son could wait no longer. He returned to his Father and asked, “Do you have an answer for me? What do you think of my plan?”

God sat for a long time saying nothing. Finally, God said, “Well, I do not have any better ideas. I suppose it is possible that, if people see you, they might remember who they truly are. They might find again in their hearts the beauty, truth and gentleness we first put in human beings so long ago.”

Then looking carefully at his Son, God said, “But there is one thing. If this is going to work, you are going to have to share everything that human beings experience. You are going to have to be born into the world as a tiny baby. You will have to live as a small vulnerable innocent child, then as a young person. You are going to have to grow up to be an adult. You will have to suffer and be tempted. You will need to feel the terrible struggle and loneliness that often go with being human. Eventually your body will have to die just as all human bodies die. People need to know that my love is present in every part of life.”

God waited while his son considered these words. Then God asked, “Are you willing to experience all this in the hope that people might find again the light they seem to have lost?”

God’s Son thought for a moment then quickly replied, “I am willing.”

And that is how we got Christmas. God’s Son chose to come and live among us as a person named Jesus. He was born as a vulnerable baby in a small corner of the world called Bethlehem. He grew into a boy, then a young man, and finally an adult.  He struggled with life, just as we all do. He had doubts. Sometimes he was even tempted to forget that he came from love and that love was his true nature. There were times, even for Jesus, when God seemed far away.

But through everything Jesus always lived a life of love. In every struggle he faced, he never failed to reflect the beauty that is our true nature and to open his heart to love.

And if you had been there on that night just before the first Christmas as Jesus got ready to leave his father, you might have seen something quite wonderful. You might have noticed, as Jesus turned to go, that in the corner of God’s eye a tear began to form and slide down his cheek, then another and another, until a steady stream of tears ran down God’s face, as if his heart was breaking to let his only Son take this dangerous journey.

But, then if you had looked carefully where Jesus was born, you would have seen that the rain had begun to fall on the land. You would have seen patches of green returning to the earth. You would have smelled the sweet scent of new life. You would have heard peoples’ voices raised in thanksgiving and hope as life began to return to the earth.

And, if you had been there, you would have felt the spirit of gentleness being born in some peoples’ hearts, not all hearts, but in enough hearts to keep alive the beauty of God’s love in the midst of the world. You would have seen people beginning again to reach out and touch each other with gentleness as they opened to the beauty they saw in Jesus.

So, whenever you see the rain fall, remember the tears of God’s sadness. Remember the baby who came to be for all people a picture of who we truly are. And remember most of all that you can be a place in which this love is born and in which the light of God’s presence shines in the world. This is the beauty we celebrate on this holy day.

            ©Christopher Page December 2017

Here is last year’s story: https://inaspaciousplace.wordpress.com/2016/12/26/christmas-story/

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Who could possibly say what deep recesses of the human brain influence the creations that spring forth from a writer? But I was a little surprised, going back over an IASP post from 7 January 2013 to discover a poem that centres around the same concept as this year’s Christmas story of the Son of God in conversation with God choosing to come to earth. It is a startling poem.

The Coming

And God held in his hand
A small globe.  Look he said.
The son looked.  Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour.  The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows: a bright
Serpent, A river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.
                On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky.  many People
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs.  The son watched
Them.  Let me go there, he said.

R.S. Thomas (1913-2000)

https://inaspaciousplace.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/epiphany-the-promise-of-light/