Monday, December 17, 2018

The Tradition of Storytelling by Marianne Evans

Marianne Evans
I host Christmas Eve festivities for my extended family each year. What that means is, as you read this post, I’m frantically performing ‘white glove’ inspections of guest sleeping quarters, I’m decorating, I’m gift wrapping, I’m baking, and…I’m thinking, as always, about storytelling.

In the midst of what I affectionately refer to as my own version of ‘Christmas Cray-cray’ I stretched out in bed and read a devotional that stilled me and left me thinking about the tradition of sharing history, circumstance, and experience via the art of storytelling.

When I thought about it, I realized: This happens most especially at Christmas.

The most ancient and beautiful custom we have is that of sharing our stories and history with those we love who gather around us, sharing food, fellowship, and love. In my home, we assemble at a table overflowing with the favorite dishes we simply couldn’t do without each year: Grandma DeCou’s sugar cookies, Grandma DeSantis’ artichoke hearts following a traditional Italian feast of pasta, meatballs and salad.

Around this table, there’s reminiscence of growing up, lessons learned, people present, people passed; each moment forms the tapestry of our family table cloth, each story forms a piece of our shared lives. Christmas is a time rife with the exchange of not just gifts, but family history, some of it sweet, tender, and funny, some of it bitter-sweet.

Through it all, storytelling sparks continuity. Storytelling sparks a desire in the hearts of those who follow in our footsteps to carry on those precious traditions—not out of obligation but out of love and joyful remembrance. Out of respect for all the ways we stay connected even if logistical and heavenly distance keeps us apart.

I wonder if that isn’t how Jesus’ ministry not only built but sustained. He shared table with his disciples, and that table his disciples followed that tradition, moving Christianity from home to home, heart to heart, neighbor to neighbor, nation to nation, until nothing could stand in its way. So much like our own lives and families, right?

Nothing can stand in our way this holiday season. Share the laughter, share the tears and joys, share the victories and close-calls with those you love the most. My encouragement this month, my hope and prayer, is to share the truth that, even if you’ve heard Uncle Homer’s story a hundred times before’, maybe you can hear it for a hundred and one times. After that, remember to share it. To keep that flickering candle flame moving from taper to taper. Such is how legacies are not just born, but enriched, and passed on to the next generation.

This Christmas, light the world. Share your history, your light and never doubt its impact to shine for decades to come.




            Dustin Farrell is expected to succeed. He’s gifted with the means and ability to take the world of business development by storm…and he’s doing just that, right on plan.

As Christmas approaches, he’s called home, to Hope Creek, Tennessee. He’s been given a slam-dunk objective from his investors: Take a small, local art shop and expand it into the retail mainstream.

Lillianna Bennett, Dustin’s former high school classmate, is part owner of Purple Door Art Market. Long ago, her shy sweetness captured his imagination, but nothing came of the affectionate flame between them.

Until a reunion at Christmas Inn. Dustin presents his offer, realizing the wallflower of his youth has bloomed into a confident, talented woman with the kind of free-spirited heart for which he always longed. And he wonders: Is a life of expectation, and ‘more’ what he really wants? Will his professional quest end up compromising Lillianna if her gifts and business become part of a wider view?

Most of all, will love be lovelier...the second time around?


Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of faith-affirming fiction who has won acclaim from critics and readers. RT Book Reviews named her book Forgiveness a 4.5-Star Top Pick and readers laude her books as ‘riveting’ and ‘true to heart.’ She’s a life-long resident of Michigan who calls suburban Detroit home.