It is Christmas Eve. Clara is given an egg-shaped box by her father, a present from her late mother, but she finds that the key is missing and she cannot open it. Her family heads off to the Christmas Eve ball, and sure that this is an important gift, she talks to her Godfather there, a skilled engineer, and asks him if he can open it. It turns out he made it and when everyone at the ball is given a gift, she receives a Golden Thread, which she follows into a magical world. A place where, it turns out, she has another identity…
Narnia has its wardrobe, The Matrix its blue pill, whilst Alice has her rabbit hole and Harry Potter platform 9 and ¾. For Clara the way into an alternate world is via her Golden Thread. The story world is full of adventures in other realities, and folks having fresh identities in those worlds. We love being transported via our imaginations and the skill of a good storyteller. Clara is a princess in the world of Christmas Tree Forest. And she embarks on an adventure to save the place.
Jesus used stories to transport his listeners to an alternate world. Not somewhere else though, but here, in this life. A different reality on earth, a new world-view, a fresh way of seeing life. In his stories oppressed widows, wayward teenagers and small children are the heroes. They fight the evil systems of this world, and show the rest of us how to follow suit. How to live differently. He turned everything on its head. Calling folks to serve rather than dominate, to lift up the broken rather than applauding the powerful. Paul, writer of many a blog post in the Bible, heartened his readers by telling them that in God’s reality we are all chosen, all precious and valued. Heroes fighting the battles that Jesus tells us about. The world around us may feed us disheartening messages, telling us we need to acquire more things, wear the right products, look the best way in order to have meaning. But in Jesus’s reality things are different. He knew he was precious and valued because his heavenly father told him so. We are precious and valued for the same reason. If as Christians our identity is found in Jesus and all he is and has done, then it will always be a battle to hang onto that in a world where there are so many other mixed messages. Which is where the Bible can help us. So many promises, so many assurances in there of God, his love for us, and of his strength, acceptance, kindness, purpose and forgiveness.
‘See how much our father God loves us, his love is so great that we are his children.’ 1 John 3 v 1. ‘God’s unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.’ Psalm 103 vv 11-13
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ Matthew 11 vv 28-30