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I have always been a sucker for an origin story, especially when it explains something we make out of habit. This time of year we are surrounded by stories, traditions and activities that we almost repeat by rut.
So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a Christmas story that had been largely forgotten, which forced me to re-examine naturalism and explain a beloved yuletide tradition.
As I explore the story, I discover that it presents us with lessons we particularly need as we enter this COVID Christmas.
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I first came upon the story of a spider, which crawled into the largest story told in the footnote of an old biblical commentary.
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Subsequent researches revealed many folklore about spiders and the Christmas story, especially in Eastern Europe. But it was the oldest and most isolated of the legends that captured my imagination and convinced me that it needed to be preserved and passed on.
I included the story in a picture book: “The Spider Who Saved Christmas.” It concerns a very old spider, Nephila, who needs a family shelter in the cave. They are running away and their child is being hunted.
The spider first frightens the family, but in time this petty creature, this object of fear, plays an important role in a story that we all knew we knew.
Without spoiling the story, the Nephila protects Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, only she. It is a heart-wrenching, supernatural thriller – a miracle legend, about the tinsel we see cascading from the branches of each Christmas tree.
Like the spider at its center, the story just comes when we need it most and is reborn through our lived experience of Christmastide. This has allowed young and old to re-show the Christmas “characters” in a new way.
We are not all like that family; Shelter to protect our lives and our loved ones? Are we not isolated and feeling hopeless?
Stories sometimes capture the secrets they reveal only in time. The story of “The Spider Who Saved Christmas” reminded me (a year after I wrote it), that if we kept looking for it, it was hoped that it could be found even in the darkest places and from unexpected sources Also came.
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Like a hard-working spider, no matter how small or worthless we are, each of us has important gifts to share with each other. As one character says in the story: “Everyone is here for a reason.”
Christmas is a time that comes together and heats us around familiar things.
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The entire season of Christmas is devoted to a story; Primarily, that God became a human and lived among us. And while we can get lost in the dazzling spectacle of stars and singing angels, the human side of this story is marked by anxiety and difficulty.
By focusing on outsiders we risk losing the reality of a family desperate for shelter, risking all of their own to protect a child entrusted in solitude.
This fully told story is capable of making us stronger and stronger.
The stories are not just entertaining entertainment – especially the old ones. They deserve accumulated wisdom, with hard-fought truths to live by.
At the end of the year, amid the isolation of the COVID crisis and a trivial political season, we have time to return deeply to these stories that we have given.
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It is unlikely that the three kings will leave for dinner or you will hear angels singing outside this Christmas. But you will experience what the Holy Family experienced on that first Christmas: worry, worry that comes forward, and worry about where we go from here.
Advancing our journey, obstacles and unexpected miracles will present us with the confidence we need to face the challenging year ahead – and renew our faith in the unseen things, even of a spider. More delicate than mesh.
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Ben Oakley is the guy you can really trust when it comes to Mainstream News. Whether it is something happening at the Wall Street of New York City or inside the White House in Washington, D.C., no one can cover mainstream news like Ben. Get a daily dose of Trustworthy News by Ben Oakley, only at Globe Live Media.