What child hasn’t thrilled to hear a story read to them? What child, once enthralled with a

particular story, hasn’t begged to hear it read again . . . and again . . . and again . . . Why is it

that they seem to never tire of hearing the same familiar words over and over? Maybe it’s

because in their world where everything is forever a new discovery, this repeated pattern

brings a sense of security and the ‘known.’ Let’s face it, we all love story, whether one read to

us, or related to us, in a book we read ourselves, in film, or on the live stage. And who among us

hasn’t re-read or re-watched a favorite, maybe multiple times, maybe with ongoing plans to

read or watch yet again? The print and film industries owe their very existence to our enduring

love of story. Each new book, each new film, hopes to catch our imagination and get us

gossiping enthusiastically to friends about our latest discovery, their next ‘must read’, their next

‘must watch’.

Of all the book genres, autobiography is the one carrying genuine, lived emotion, relating

intimate, behind the scenes truths, heartwarming small details, endearing anecdotes, insider

perspective. (I’ll pass on the tell-all, blistering attacks, the exposés, the rants, which are more

about revenge than telling one’s life story). More gripping yet, is the in-person, spoken

testimony, one’s journey up to this point, the funny bits, the sad bits, the dramatic bits, as well

as the bits in-between. A Christian testimony brings together all the knotty human threads

interwoven with strands of divine perfection in a sometimes comical, off-kilter dance. This

honesty, this vulnerability, this sharing of surprised gratitude can resonate in listening hearts to

a degree few other things can.

I picture Jesus’ ‘off camera’ moments with his disciples chock-a-block with unabashed stories of

his simple childhood, his small village where everyone knew everyone, his patient, carpenter

father and Jesus’ own early, bumbling efforts at carpentry, his siblings, as well as insider info

about his Heavenly Father that we’ll not get to hear until we see him face to face (lucky

disciples!). As this band of friends became more aware of Jesus’ divinity, seeing the miracles,

the healings, the Transfiguration! and finally his crucifixion and resurrection, all those early

tales and details would have filled in Jesus’ story for them in a wild, whodathunkit, but

strangely satisfying, way. It would, I’m thinking, have provided the impetus for them to share

their own stories, seeing that oral tradition was a long-standing part of their culture. Wouldn’t

it be great to bring that tradition back? We could be sharing our journeys with one another,

with the highs and lows, the victories and the less-than-victories, the crazy stuff and the

stunning, ‘Jesus loves me’ stuff; encouragements for all of us along the way in this new year. So,

who wants to go first? PD

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