Home Alone & The Story of Jesus
As a culture, we love telling and listening to stories.
We pack into movie theaters to watch stories, we gather around living rooms to tell stories, and every Christmas, people come together to tell the story of a baby born in a manger in Bethlehem.
What makes stories so compelling is their structure. In school, they teach the story model that generally follows this order: exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution. Every piece of this process works together to make an interesting story. If you were to stop somewhere in that, the story would become pointless because it loses it's emotional weight.
My favorite Christmas movie of all time is Home Alone. It's a story about Kevin Mcallister, an ornery kid who gets left home alone when the (worst) parents leave on a vacation over Christmas time. Right there, I just gave you the exposition and the inciting incident. You can pretty much gather that much from the title. But what if you stopped telling the story there? Would it be engaging? Would little 5 year old me and big 22 year old me (and probably old 45 year old me) continue to be captured by it?
What makes the story of Kevin Mcallister and his absent minded parents so great is the entire story put together. You need the bumbling antics of Harry & Marv. You need the oddly (not at all) kid-friendly violence of Marv getting hit in the face with an iron or Harry getting his head set on fire. You need the struggle of Kevin's parents trying to get back to him. You need the joyful reunion of the family coming back together on Christmas Day. Without the whole story, the story isn't very much at all.
TELLING THE ENTIRE STORY
This Christmas, I've been really taken with a few Christmas Carols. What has drawn me to these Carols is the fact that they tell the entire story of Jesus in the duration of the song. The general purpose and focus of these songs is to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but they can't help but finish the story of Jesus.
The birth of Jesus is so inextricably linked to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that to separate one from the other is to leave out the vital elements that make it the greatest story in the world.
I think it's fascinating that every Christmas, millions of people who entirely reject the existence of Christ rally around and sing songs about his birth. Secular artists sing "O Holy Night" and "What Child Is This?" just like any other song and people join them in the chorus. These people have the tendency to change the words or to leave out the good verses. It's easy to sing about a little baby born in Israel 2000 years ago to a teenage mother. It's much more difficult to reckon with the life that child went on to live.
I'm challenged this Christmas to appreciate Christ more.
Christmas is an incredible time to celebrate the joyful, miraculous birth of the savior of the world. Mentally though, I want to work to always finish the story in my heart. To remember daily throughout this season that the child born in a manger grew up. That he lived a perfect life I never could, died the death I deserved, and rose to life that I might join him in eternal life. I don't want to tell the exposition and the inciting incident and leave it at that. I want this Christmas to be defined by a willingness to tell the whole story of Jesus and cherish the entire Gospel anew.
Gospel Christmas Spotify Playlist
I made a quick playlist with some of the songs I feel like have really been grabbing me and showing me the Gospel this season.
That Time of Year
I also have been using this playlist, just for fun. It's got all sorts of Christian AND Heathen Christmas music on it for your listening enjoyment