Once upon a time, back before the Chinese invented paper, we used to be an orally-based culture. We would rely on our memories to remember important elements of the story. We might focus on chronology, the main dramatic elements, archetypes, the hero’s quest, the turning points, movement, action, and finally the overarching moral of the story.
I believe that the Bible and other sacred texts are full of these rich, meaningful stories. Stories about the hero beating incredible odds in an attempt to prevail against powerful forces. This morning, I am thinking of the power of the Christmas story. A baby born 70 miles from home, to poor parents, in an occupied land, in a horse trough, a place where animals drink.
Imagine the faces of our early ancestors when they heard this story for the first time. The unfolding of events, the stars, the night sky, the shepherds keeping watch. Then spotting a procession of kings, camels, gifts, a star that mysteriously moved, guiding them on to the exact spot where this indigent and outcast mother was waiting to give birth.
And then, after the baby’s birth, the flight to Egypt to protect him from powerful forces that would harm him. And yet this baby grew up to be a radical, a truth teller, who would start a revolution of the ultimate power of love and healing.
He prevailed against all odds, against all the kings, men who would murder him, against the religious scholars who would denounce him, against a culture who was expecting a warrior to save them, instead of a poor, powerless, itinerant speaker who communicated in parables, illustrating the principles of love and healing.
And yet, the truth inside a powerful story always prevails, the truth about the power of love to heal this world. It is the only thing that matters in the end.