By Marilyn Turk
The more I study the craft of writing, the more I read like a writer. I look at how the author tells the story – word choice, POV, structure, and how many “rules” are broken. I also consider ways the story could be better – what could be left out or added to make it stronger.
So is it any wonder when I reread the familiar Christmas story that I viewed it the same way?
The story we’ve heard since childhood is simple. But when analyzed, the story is far from simple. It is a story full of conflict and resolution.
For years, Israel looked forward to a Messiah. They expected a royal king born in a palace, a warrior-king who would lead them to victory against their enemies and establish a new kingdom.
However, the story was different than expected. The prophecy said the Messiah would be born to a virgin. Yet this virgin, Mary, was not married, and getting pregnant out of wedlock was a sin. She was engaged to Joseph, and people would assume he was the father. But Joseph knew he wasn’t. What should he do? CONFLICT.
Then an angel appeared to Joseph, told him the baby was the Messiah and to go ahead with plans to marry Mary. RESOLUTION.
So Joseph married Mary and all was well. The baby was almost due. Then Caesar Augustus called for a census requiring everyone to travel back to their home towns to register. Joseph had to take nine-month pregnant Mary to Bethlehem. CONFLICT.
RESOLUTION They traveled to Bethlehem.
But when they arrived, there was no place to stay and Mary was having contractions. CONFLICT
Then they were offered a stable to stay in. The baby Messiah was born. RESOLUTION.
The baby was welcomed by shepherds. Mary and Joseph took their healthy baby boy home. However, some wise men had looked for him a long time and followed a star to find him. They stopped at the king’s palace to ask directions and inadvertently tipped him off to a potential usurper to his throne. The wise men find Jesus and worship him. But now the king wants the baby killed. CONFLICT.
Joseph has a dream warning him to go to Egypt and stay until the king is no longer a threat. RESOLUTION.
Wow! What a story! No wonder it has captured the interests of millions for centuries! A great plot, lots of excitement and hooks to keep our interest.
But the story didn’t end there. It continued as the adult Jesus was crucified for the redemption of the world. It continued to His glorious resurrection when He won victory over death. And it continues today in the lives of His believers. So now, we read the story not only as observers, but also as one of the characters, because we’re included. Our own conflict – sin – has been resolved by his sacrifice. And now, Praise God, His point of view has become ours.
“For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Marilyn Turk lives in and writes about the coastal South, especially its history. Rebel Light, the first book in her Coastal Lights Legacy series, and her Lighthouse Devotions, are under contract. Her historical suspense, The Gilded Curse, will be published in March 2016. She writes a weekly lighthouse blog @ http://marilynturk.com