The story of creation, fall and redemption is the most compelling human story. It’s a storyline woven throughout the fabric of all of life, from nature to art to film to relationships.
The rhythm of scripture itself flows along the creation, fall and redemption current, orchestrating a captivating telling of the course of human history - created by God, fallen from God and ultimately in need of being redeemed back to God. This is the story of life. It’s the story of God. It’s the essence of Christmas - the greatest story ever told.
THE STORY OF NATURE
The annual recurrence of seasons in nature provides a natural backdrop for this narrative – the seedlings sprout to create a flower while months later the harsh sun or blistering cold causes the flower to fall, only to be redeemed back to its beauty in just a short passing of time. We call them seasons - the natural telling of a very compelling story.
THE STORY OF HOLLYWOOD
This same narrative is scripted into many of Hollywood’s most successful big screen plots, from romantic comedies to superhero films.
The basis of any romantic comedy rests upon a relationship that has been newly formed, or created, in some capacity – like when strangers fall in love online through email (You’ve Got Mail), an LA girl with a string of dead end relationships takes a vacation to England and finds romance (The Holiday), or even a wealthy businessman picks up a down-on-her-luck prostitute in Hollywood (Pretty Woman). A relationship has been created, for good or bad. At some point in the film, however, a hiccup occurs. A crisis jeopardizes the stability of the relationship. The audience is left to wonder, will it last? How will they make it through this? Without knowing it, we’re rooting for redemption – we’re longing for the happily ever after.
All classic superhero films operate according to this same motif. Be it a mild-mannered midwest farm boy with superhuman powers (Superman) or a billionaire playboy turned dark knight vigilante (Batman), an ordinary man is indelibly marked by an extraordinary calling. A mission is embodied, and with it an alternative identity is created. Yet, just as in romantic comedies, there comes a point in the story when the hero doubts his calling and questions his abilities to fulfill it. There’s a falling away from what he knows to be true and a denial of what is right. The audience is left to wonder, will he continue on? Will he protect the city from crime or save the planet from destruction? Again, we’re hoping for a return – a calling redeemed and a mission fulfilled.
THE STORY OF THE GOSPEL
The story of creation, fall and redemption is the most compelling human story because it is every human’s story. In a sense, we’re all longing for the happily ever after. We’re all looking for a hero and longing for our rescue.
The story of God in scripture captures at its core the essence of our happy rescue. It’s a telling of God’s creation of man and woman into an existence of perfect harmony with one another and uninterrupted communion with their Creator. Formed in the image of God, mankind was created to perpetually bear the infinite worth and greatness of God in all things (Genesis 1:27). Yet, man in his defiant insistence rebelled against the order God created and fell into the depravity of self-reliance, self-trust and a feeble projection of self-image in all things. Rather than magnify the worth and greatness of God, man sinfully chose to magnify the fleeting worth and greatness of self. This fracturing of God’s created order resulted in a separation between God and man – what was created as good and perfect had now been eternally jeopardized by sin (Genesis 3:23-24).
Humanity is left to wonder, how will the story end? Will God make a way for man to come back to Him? Will He save us? Will He send a Rescuer?
THE STORY OF CHRISTMAS
The story of Christmas is the culmination of the creation, fall and redemption narrative. It’s the revelation of the person of Jesus as our Hero, our Rescuer. It’s a declaration that He has come! He is here!
The birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament whispers which, even in the midst of man’s falling away from God, spoke of the One who would come save and restore those who had been created but fallen (Isaiah 7:14). The essence of His mission is infused in His very name – Jesus, “God saves” and Immanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:21,23). In Jesus, the God who saves has now come to dwell among us, to be with us, to restore us and redeem us. He is here! Our Hero is here!
Christmas is the declaration of God through Jesus that rescue has come, our Hero is here and our ever after can be happy in Him.
This is Christmas - the greatest story ever told.