One of my favorite things to do at this time of year is to sit down and listen as people tell the Christmas story. Almost all of them contain the essentials: Mary and Joseph being together, Jesus’ birth, angels doing some announcements, visitors showing up, and people rejoicing that God is in fact with us.
But it is the details of their retelling that make each one fascinating. Everyone tells the story a little different. Everyone places emphasis on different areas. Everyone has a slightly different reason for telling it. I do not have a problem with this. I enjoy this. In fact, it is even biblical!! Matthew and Luke are the only gospels to tell this story and they tell it from two very different perspectives.
In Matthew – an angel appears to Joseph, magi from the East saw the star, and King Herod became jealous of a new born baby child. No census, no manger, no shepherds, no multitude of angels. Matthew seems to emphasize Jesus as King in his telling of the Christmas story, and then spends the next 27 chapters showing us just how different and unique this King really is.
In Luke – Gabriel speaks to Mary before she travels with Joseph to Bethlehem and the baby is born, wrapped in bands of cloth, and placed in a manger. No magi, no gifts, no star, no escape to Egypt. Luke tends to highlight that God coming to earth is good news to EVERYONE, hence the first visitors to see the child are simply regular, ordinary shepherds who were busy working in the fields nearby.
So when I sit down and listen to someone telling the Christmas story, I find great joy in the different perspective they tell it from. Everyone has a slightly different retelling because everyone has a slightly different take on the good news that came that night. I like to pay attention and ask questions:
Where do they start the story?
Where do they end the story?
Who do they mention?
What is biblical?
What is added?
What is the purpose for their retelling?
What are they trying to communicate about Jesus?
And since I cannot physically sit with you and hear people tell the Christmas story to us, I have complied 10 of my favorite videos from VIMEO that all retell it in their own way:
1. This is the longest of the videos in this list, but my new favorite. It has children acting out the story while sharing their thoughts on what happened: https://vimeo.com/56211586
2. This is two semi-scary guys in secular costumes interviewing children to ask them about the real Christmas story: https://vimeo.com/82025020
3. A stop-motion video that begins the Christmas story all the way back “in the beginning”: https://vimeo.com/77804883
4. A classic is Linus telling Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about by focusing on the announcement to the shepherds while quoting Luke 2:8-14 in the KJV – this is simply those words placed with a new visual. http://vimeo.com/34067543
5. It is a quick retelling with subtitles that ends with these words in bold: “God came to town”. http://vimeo.com/33112319
6. Dan Stevers in this retelling lays the biblical birth story from Luke and the announcement to Mary over and against the modern business of the season. http://vimeo.com/1790829
7.-10. This last one is actually a four-part series which takes the text directly from the NKJV but has some great graphics to go with it.
Luke 1:26-33 – http://vimeo.com/8222525
Luke 2:8-16 – http://vimeo.com/32996464
Luke 2:1-7 – http://vimeo.com/32996168
Luke 2:22-32 – http://vimeo.com/8213553
So, how would you tell the Christmas story?