I Love to Tell the Story
By Ben Cross
A few years ago, I noticed a pattern when my wife and I visited her family: a family gathering wouldn’t be complete until they would tell a handful of the same stories. Every time.
There were stories about the family pets; a legendary Easter egg hunt; something about a cat hiding in an old, unused microwave; and one that involved eating spoiled yogurt before hopping on a carnival ride. They were funny stories, and everyone enjoyed telling them and reliving the memories. That wasn’t the surprising part. What struck me was that every time we got together, they told each story almost as if it was the very first time anyone had ever heard it. They asked the same follow-up questions, helped each other finish their sentences, and roared with laughter at the punch lines until they were crying. It was like a brand new memory all over again.
Since we’ve picked up on this accidental family ritual, we all still enjoy gathering around the dining room table to tell and relive the same stories at nearly every family gathering. There’s just something about those stories that are important to the history of the family.
My guess is that you do it, too. Whatever your family memories are, you probably retell those stories in a similar way and relive them all over again. But I think you know deep down, like I began to know with my family, that you tell those stories for a reason. It’s not because you forgot what happened. It’s not just because they’re funny.
Those old, familiar stories remind us of the good times. They remind us of loved ones who may not be around anymore. They remind us not to take ourselves too seriously. They remind us why we love each other in the first place. They’re more than just memories. They remind us who we are.
In our big Christian “Family,” we have stories like that, too.
Every year when Easter rolls around, we remember Jesus’ life, death, burial, and—best of all—resurrection. For most of us, the story of Jesus is at least vaguely familiar. We already know the ending, but we still gather together to tell the same story, preach from the same Bible passages, and celebrate the same event. Why?
It’s not because we forgot the story.
It’s not because we don’t remember last Easter.
It’s not because of egg hunts and Easter baskets.
And it definitely doesn’t have anything to do with a benevolent bunny.
We tell the Easter story every year, over and over again because the story has special power. When we gather and relive the memory, it has a way of completing us. This is our Family Story, and it reminds us who we are.
It reminds us what we have to live for.
It reminds us that we serve a God who can do the impossible.
It reminds us that—in spite of our circumstances—we can have hope.
So this Easter, don’t let your ears and heart gloss over the story just because you’ve heard it before. Prepare yourself to relive it.
Let yourself feel the emotion all over again.
Let yourself cry tears of joy because of what God has done. Let the story inspire you again, just like it did the first time. Let yourself really hear the story again this year.
And let the story of Easter remind you who you are.