At the end of the year, it is most appropriate to look back to the beginning. Each of the First Stories interviews revealed an aspect of the writer’s craft to me and renewed my appreciation for the dedication and drive required to shape stories and release them into the world. Thank you to each and every writer who was willing to answer my questions! And thank you to every reader who dropped by to read our interviews and comment. May your holiday seasons be merry and bright!
As a follower of Jesus, this time of year is the beginning of THE STORY – the first story that undergirds whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report. To our great shame, we who claim to love Jesus often do a terrible job of telling this story – the upside-down, world-altering, justice-bringing, table-turning, life-and-light-giving story. Its main characters are a helpless baby, marginalized shepherds, a teenage, first-time, initially unwed mother, and a carpenter from Nazareth (“can anything good come from Nazareth?” – yep, that’s in the Bible too).
Sure, there were kings in this story too…and military power…and villages stuffed with out-of-town visitors. There are so many mysteries surrounding Christmas; perhaps that’s why we struggle to define the “spirit of Christmas”. God becoming a man? Huh? A virgin becoming pregnant? Come again? The King of kings born in a stable? No one noticing the new star except foreign Magi? The Most High God coming to those people considered “outsiders” and “lowly” and “marginal”?
Ah, but see, He’s always done that. Chosen what the world had discarded as His own. Mended the broken. Brought the outsiders in. That’s why we “come and adore Him.”
Whatever you believe about Christmas, whatever you think about God, whatever you could say about people who say they follow Jesus, I pray that you find Him. The great God Who became a little baby – who had colds, and zits, and indigestion, who was bullied and befriended, who experienced a full, human life.
For us writers, imagine transporting yourself into the story you’re writing. Truly. We can’t actually do that. But God can. And did. The Author wrote Himself into the story and experienced everything we do.
“…He had the honesty and courage to take His own medicine. Whatever game He is playing with His creation, He has kept His own rules and played fair.” – Dorothy Sayers
And every good, true, noble story every written is based on the honesty and courage in that First Story.
First Stories will return in 2022 for more interviews with writers about those stories that wouldn’t stop nagging until they were written down! Happy New Year!