Do you remember reading your first story? I have fond memories of learning to read words and sentences strung together to make a story. At the tender age of five, I sat with “Little Bear” by Maurice Sendak on my lap. At the beginning, only the first page made any sense. Then, as I grew in confidence and ability, page after page came alive.
The story transported me to another world.
I traveled with Little Bear to the moon, savored the birthday cake his mother baked for him, felt the soft crunch of snow beneath his feet.
Throughout my childhood, this scenario was repeated again and again as I moved to more challenging books with fewer illustrations and longer chapters. Jenny and the Cat Club, Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables.
Why do we love stories so much?
Stories entertained me for hours, fueled my imagination, and satisfied my soul.
I lived for the days when my teacher would pass out the Scholastic book club order sheets. My parents put limits on how much I could spend (otherwise I’d buy every book!) and I’d spend hours poring over each description, agonizing over this title or that.
One of my purchases was a condensed version of “Little Women,” and I read it so many times that the pages drifted out of the spine. Imagine my delight when my grandmother gave me a beautiful hardback copy, and I found undiscovered chapters with more details of the March girls’ antics.
Of course, I broke down in tears when I read that Jo didn’t marry Laurie, and even the appearance of kindly Professor Bhaer wasn’t enough to quench my disappointment.
So many of the stories I read made deep, lasting impacts on me, and I can truthfully say that some changed the way I think.
For this is the magic of stories.
Stories engage us.
Madeleine L’Engle says “stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.”
The Ultimate Story
My favourite story is one I find myself returning to again and again. In each season of my life, it’s meant something a little different.
Every time I read it, I’m struck anew by its richness and depth.
The story tells of an individual who left his home to seek a bride.
To rescue her from destruction and death.
To find all things lost.
To heal all things wounded.
To bind all things broken.
To establish an ever-expanding kingdom.
This quest would cost the God-man his life, a price he was more than willing to pay.
Would you be interested in such a story? Would it surprise you to discover that you are the bride? And that you have a part to play in creating this kingdom?
For we’re all involved in this great cosmic story. An epic struggle against good and evil with a cowardly antagonist and a glorious Hero. Of princesses, warriors, and kings. This story has spanned the ages and will continue on into eternity.
And this time, there will be no let-down at the end of the story. No disappointment. No tears.
This is the ultimate Story, and one I love to read again and again. Do you know it?