Posted by: Jo | December 18, 2015

Telling and Retelling The Christmas Story

 

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night.”

(Luke 6:38)

image I was reading this week a very interesting article about, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, the animated cartoon that is celebrating a fifty-year anniversary, this year. I was impressed by the fact that when Charles Schultz, the author, first presented the finished video, he was strongly advised to delete the full scripture reading that Linus was going to read to Charlie, to help him understand what Christmas was all about, because the producers thought it wasn’t appropriate to quote the Bible in a cartoon. I was amazed that Charles Schultz stood up to this criticism and insisted that God’s word, the true story of Christmas, would remain in the cartoon, so for fifty years and counting, the telling and retelling of the Christmas story has been repeated for all the children and adults viewing that sweet little video. This is what Linus read; Luke 2:8 – 14

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests”

As I finished reading the article I thought what a wonderful example Charles Schultz has set for all of us. We, who know that true story, need to make sure that future generations hear and know why we celebrate Christmas. When Moses was teaching the Israelites how to live their lives he impressed upon them the need to remember and not to let slip from their hearts the true story that they had experienced and the necessity of passing on that knowledge to their children.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deuteronomy 4:9)

image We are a family of story tellers and our grandchildren love to hear our stories, especially when they feature in them. They love to be reminded, over and over again, of what they did when they were small and their eyes light up with delight when the exciting climax is getting close. We have to be careful to include all the familiar story and even when my husband chose to say a different grace at the dinner table, a little voice from the three-year-old, piped up to tell him, “You missed a page, Grandpa” The very fact that they already know the whole story just seems to make it more fascinating for them to hear us tell it.

The Christmas message can only be treated as an amazing story if it becomes a part of family history, to be told lovingly, emphasising the fact that we became part of that story when we became adopted children, told to embrace the wonder of God becoming man, told so the words become part of us.

I love the old hymn that emphasises that we will never get tired of that old, old story of God’s incredible gift to us on that first Christmas morn.

Tell me the old, old story

Tell me the old, old story

Tell me the old, old story

Of Jesus and his love.

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Responses

  1. Jo, this is such a lovely follow up to the Sunday School lesson I had the privilege of teaching yesterday. I feel like Christmas dinner with 23 or 28 special family members gathered here this year should wait till one of us has read your blog out loud. It is so very wonderful that Christians can still stand up and be heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. May we and our descendants keep retelling this wonderful story, Happy and blessed Christmas to you Jo and all your family. Love Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your wonderful telling of the story Jo made me ponder on the reaction of the shepherds – such simple men invited to witness the beginning of the short world-changing life of Jesus. I think it might have been like today inviting a group of roadworkers into a caravan park to see a newborn baby. May their delight be shared by all of us this Christmas – especially your little ones.

    Liked by 1 person


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