I’ve been thinking about stories lately, mostly because my two-year-old is obsessed with them. I don’t just mean he wants a story about a bear and a toad becoming friends. I mean, while I’m changing his diaper, he wants me to tell a story about how his poop came out. He wants a story after he’s been in time-out for throwing his food on the ground about the time he sat in time-out for throwing his food on the ground. The boy’s obsessed.
At the same time, I’m working on a series of poems for the season of Advent and my mind keeps coming back to the greatness of the Story: God coming to earth as our Rescuer, the upside down arrival of a King in a barn to an unwed teenage girl, the star shining over the place of his birth, the angels bringing messages in person and in magical dreams, culminating in their chorus for the likes of a few shepherds. The Christmas story is a crazy story.
And it’s the story we’ve always been telling. CS Lewis called the Gospel the “myth become fact” in an essay he wrote by the same name. He further described the story of Christ as “a real though unfocused gleam of divine truth falling on human imagination.” In his years of unbelief, the similarities between the myths of various religions and the stories of Christianity were proof for Lewis of Christianity’s faultiness. Part of what brought him to faith later in his life was the sudden realization that Myth could be one great human longing for a story of God come to us, that all the myths of all the cultures of the earth could somehow point to the fulfillment of this Story in the life of Christ.
I admit, as a natural skeptic I have two reactions to his idea: one reaction comes from the part of me that says, What a convenient way to fit your questions into your faith, Clive Staples! The other reaction in me is always stronger (and it’s why I cry when I read The Storybook Bible aloud to August). That reaction says: Yes, I need God to love me. I need God to rescue me, I need every good ending in every story I’ve ever loved to somehow be true. I’m a Christian because I believe that Christ is making the good things true and the sad things untrue.
And so I come to this season of Advent (and to my son’s most recent request for a story about how our cat (Ezra) flew a rocket to the moon just to get August a moon rock from the same place: the longing for a story that is good and right and just as the world should be.
God come to earth is the craziest story I’ve ever heard. And I love believing it because in believing it, everything beautiful is possible.