When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12
In the world of advertising hype, “superlative inflation” has become so expected that exaggerated claims have essentially lost their punch. Average products are hyped as, “Revolutionary;” run-of-the-mill products are described as, “The world’s best _____;” television shows are hyped as, “America’s #1 hit drama” before they have even debuted!
We’ve reached the point, I believe, where a more honest appraisal, such as, “Not half bad at this stage of her career,” “Good value for the price,” or, “NBC have created a genre drama that’s actually fairly interesting,” would likely capture more consumer interest than outlandish claims that consistently fall flat.
One superlative that always rings true, though, is that of “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” It isn’t the retail sales, it’s never been Santa, and even the best of “The Holiday Season” without the Advent of Jesus is only a shadow of the transformational narrative of the impact of the Gospel of Love.
OWN IT! But a story this amazing needs to be told. It needs to be told, and retold, by everyone who claims to play a part, or to own a place in the ongoing narrative. His story needs to become my story, and your story, and our story; and it only truly becomes a story that we own when we learn it by heart, and when we learn to tell it – to share it with conviction, and with our place in the story clearly understood.
So today’s Advent Feature Photo, the take off point for “Advent at the Improv,” is the 1931 cover (above right) from one of our favorite Christmas story books here at Maul-Hall.
We have piles, and shelves, and bookcases-full of all sorts of books, and among them are at least 30 volumes that tell The Greatest Story Ever Told. And it is always fresh, always true, always new, always transformational.
Every version, from the classic The Christ Child (1931), to O. Henry’s The Gift of The Magi (1905), to Joyce Dunbar and Gary Blythe’s spectacularly illustrated This is the Star (1996), carries the undeniable stamp of the incarnation.
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN! We may not be professional story-tellers, but our lives can illustrate the story with irresistible impact, because the most compelling narrative of all is an authentic living of the truth of the Gospel of Love.
The gift of Jesus into this broken world remains the Greatest Story Ever Told; it is ours to own, to tell and retell, and to live into with imagination and with joy.
Be the story! – DEREK
Gallery: the first 5 days of Advent –
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.