It’s been a long month. Bitter cold and snow on snow have cancelled classes and events, leaving us huddled in our houses for days on end. And what better way to pass the time than with story?
Our granddaughter has just fallen in love with one of my favorite fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast, and has been let’s-pretending it all day long, for days now. I am startled to find she knows snatches of dialogue by heart, and is singing along on key…just past her third birthday, she seems to have made a quantum leap forward.
I’m pleased that she has taken to a story which involves a loving father, a beautiful act of sacrificial love, and a relationship which isn’t based on good looks. Add to that a heroine who loves to read–it’s perfect! I know Lucy is probably not reacting to all these positive character qualities for their own sake…she loves the story. Presenting her with stories worth loving is my most important job at the moment. Later there will be time to show her why they’re worthy.
In C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (a story to which I’m eager to introduce Lucy), the land of Narnia is under an evil spell that makes it always winter, and never Christmas. It’s not just the weather outside my window that makes me feel I could be in Narnia now. These increasingly dark days, which my brother spends most of the week chronicling here, are requiring us more and more to tell ourselves good, true and beautiful tales to keep our spirits up.
When I hear of hundreds of thousands of people—half of them young people–braving the cold to participate in the March for Life in Washington, D.C., I think to myself, “Their parents raised them with the right stories.”
Investigative filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch would agree with me. He joined in castigating the mainstream media for being unwilling to tell the story of a record half a million people willingly facing sub-zero weather in order to proclaim aloud, “We are the Pro-Life Generation.”
I can think of so many books and films which powerfully attest to the profound value of one person’s life, and the sacrifices that others will make in order to save it: From Horton Hears a Who, which tells us that “a person’s a person, no matter how small” to It’s a Wonderful Life, which celebrates the difference one person can make… From Finding Nemo, the story of a father risking everything to find his only son, to Saving Private Ryan, where many lives are lost in recovering one young man… These stories are a part of our culture, and yet for half of our nation, they seem to be disconnected from reality.
“They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” Ephesians 4:18 NIV
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…” Matthew 24:12 NIV
In the midst of a hard and cold generation, Christians have a responsibility to not only huddle together for warmth and tell their stories…we have a duty to tell these stories for the whole world to hear. True tales, which reflect our times and put them in perspective.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV
“Think about” these things…and sing about them, and write about them, and paint them, and sing them, and make plays about them. Because all that strong story-telling has surely shaped this pro-life generation. And we will need every story and song and painting and play we can produce to warm ourselves against the obdurate cold and hardness of this present age.
We’ve been wandering in the dark since we left the garden, but there has always been a Light to follow, and a Word to give us hope. Armed with that Hope, those Stories, Christian artists have all we need to speak to our generation of coming Spring, and life which lasts forever.
(What are some of your favorite life- and value-affirming stories? Share in the comment section!)