• Joellen Kemper

The Hope of Christmas

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"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned...Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end." -Isaiah 9:2, 5-7

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The Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerrit van Honthorst


I've been pondering the Christmas story, it's implications for humanity, and I have also been thinking about fairy stories and why they are so important. Before I lose you, I know those two things may seem as far away from each other as possible, but I do believe one is a beautiful reflection of the other...


Why do fairy stories resonate with us?


Within them we find a love that conquers death, eternal beings living outside of their temporary Earthly experience, that there is some sort of supernatural force at work and fighting for us, and that ultimately good wins out over evil. Things that we all secretly hope are true but cynically, can cause us to reject these timeless tales.


The fact that so many of us have this hope (no matter how deeply buried) must reflect something larger at work here.


While fiction, fairy stories contain essential truths that ultimately point back to the larger story of human reality and its struggle with redemption. JRR Tolkien, both an epic story teller and a devout man of faith, talked so poignantly on this matter:


"The Gospels contain...a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy stories. They contain many marvels-peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: 'mythical' in their perfect self contained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe...The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man's history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the 'inner consistency of reality'. There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many skeptical men have accepted as true on its own merits...To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath."


The Christmas story isn't something that was only relevant over 2000 years ago, but it is a personal story of how Christ came down in the form of a humble baby, for both you and me, to save us from ourselves and from the one who would love nothing more than to take us away from Him. You and I are worth fighting for. Please read the last sentence as many times as you need to and let that really sink in. That is most definitely something to celebrate this holiday season.


One of the things that have prevented me in the past from really understanding the Christmas story and its implications for my life is I didn't truly understand how personal God's love was for me and how much He cared for all of my broken parts. I leave you with this quote to wonderfully describe the depths that Christ went for you and me, the essence of the Christmas story:


"The incarnation means that for whatever reason God chose to let us fall...to suffer, to be subject to sorrows and death-he has nonetheless had the honesty and the courage to take his own medicine...He can exact nothing from man that he has not exacted from himself. He himself has gone through the whole of human experience--from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst hours of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death...He was born in poverty and...suffered infinite pain-all for us- and thought it well worth his while."




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© 2018 by Joellen Kemper

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