Enjoy the Story

by Heather Larson

A few years ago, I discovered that I had stopped reading fiction. Oh, not completely, I suppose, but all the voracious and fascinated fiction-reading of my childhood and young-adulthood had been replaced by books about how to do things (parenting, writing, art, cooking). How could I have changed so much, I wondered.

Last night I read a story by George MacDonald in which a character stops reading fiction (he had been a fan of Milton and Spenser). Then he stops reading history, and eventually reads only politics and current events. He finds that “he had been growing fonder of business” which the author tells us is a bad sign for a man like him. The story made me think of that year when I realized how little fiction I had read. I, too, had grown “fonder of business”—of figuring out how I could get things done well. Feeling very responsible as a parent of young children, I gave way to the American worship of productivity and the practical. After a time, it was only attractive to read or think about things that would make me feel competent, and books that I would do something with. 

So how did God rescue me from my growing narrowness? I made some efforts to change my patterns that year, but I was not very effective—when habits have become tastes they are hard to change. God’s rescue came from my desire to read to my children. I wanted to give them the joy I’d had in stories, and reading to children seemed a responsible, practical thing to do. I did it for the children’s sake, but God used it to work on my heart. Again and again, over the years since, I have found myself crying, worshiping, or convicted. I am more alive and open to the Spirit when I have set aside self and entered into a story.

How on earth does this relate to Advent? It relates because Christmas is, above all, a time to read and enjoy a particular story: the story of Jesus’ birth. On the other hand, it is also a time of year when over-allegiance to productivity becomes very tempting. There have been Decembers when I have spent more time reading my To-Do list than my Bible. In a “To-Do” mode, it is easy to start treating Bible reading itself as a kind of productivity: checking it off a list, or feeling the pressure to wring a daily application from a very familiar text. Jesus’ story is not like the parenting and cook books; it’s not a story to do something with. It is a story to be enjoyed. We need to open up the beginning of Matthew, and the beginning of Luke, and enter in like the child with a favorite storybook. We need to lay aside self, and let the story—and the Holy Spirit—do something to us.

12-1-19

The Well Christmas Movie Night: December 6
Women of FOL: Join us for a screening of “Elf” and Christmas goodies at the Training Center on Friday, December 6th at 6:30.

Family Center Christmas Party: December 12
The Tutoring & ESL Programs will host their annual Family Center Christmas Party in the Stephens Cafeteria on Thursday, December 12th from 5:45 – 8:00 pm. The party committee invites FOL to help set up, serve food, lead crafts and games, and connect with our many Family Center families. If you are available to help with the party, please email Emily.

Tamale Class & Sales: December 14 & 15
The Well will host a tamale cooking class for anyone interested on Saturday, December 14th at the Family Center. The class will be $10/person and the tamales will be available for sale at FOL on Sunday, December 15th. All money raised will go toward the Family Center remodel. Please visit the Info Table to sign up for the class (spaces are limited) and preorder tamales.

Outreach Sunday and Christmas Cookies: December 15
FOL’s Christmas outreach service will be held on Sunday, December 15th. Please invite family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to join us. If you would like to bring cookies for the Christmas cookie bar, please sign up at the Info Table.

11-24-19

Fostering and Adoption Resources: November
Are you interested in learning more about fostering or adopting? Please visit the Info Table this month to pick up local resources and chat with a FOL foster/adoptive parent.

Family Center Christmas Party: December 12
The Tutoring & ESL Programs will host their annual Family Center Christmas Party in the Stephens Cafeteria on Thursday, December 12th from 5:45 – 8:00 pm. The party committee invites FOL to help set up, serve food, lead crafts and games, and connect with our many Family Center families. If you are available to help with the party, please email Emily (emily@folcov.org).

Tamal Class & Sales: December 14 & 15
The Well will host a tamal cooking class for anyone interested on Saturday, December 14th at the Family Center. The class will be $10/person and the tamales will be available for sale at FOL on Sunday, December 15th. All money raised will go toward the Family Center remodel. Please visit the Info Table to sign up for the class (spaces are limited) and preorder tamales.

Outreach Sunday and Christmas Cookies: December 15
FOL’s Christmas outreach service will be held on Sunday, December 15th. Please invite family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to join us. If you would like to bring cookies for the Christmas cookie bar, please sign up at the Info Table.

Youth Weekly Events

  • High school youth meet on Wednesday evenings.
  • Middle school youth meet on Friday evenings.

11-17-19

Family Workshop: Today
Alan Gan and Heather Larson will host a family workshop in the cafeteria after today’s service. The workshop will introduce activities for families to do together during the Christmas season. All families and family members are welcome. Click here to read the document.

Thanksgiving Pies
Consider ordering a delicious Thanksgiving pie from 5000 Pies, our church’s social enterprise. Orders must be placed before November 23rd for pick-up on November 27th. Stop by the Info Table to place your order today!

The Well Christmas Movie Night: December 6
Women and girls of FOL: Save the date for a screening of Elf and Christmas goodies at the Training Center on Friday, December 6th at 6:30pm!

Family Center Christmas Party: December 12
The Tutoring & ESL Programs will host their annual Family Center Christmas Party in the Stephens Cafeteria on Thursday, December 12th from 5:45 pm – 8:00 pm. The party committee invites FOL to help set up, serve food, lead crafts and games, and connect with our many Family Center families. If you are available to help with the party, please email Emily (emily@folcov.org).

Youth Weekly Events
High school youth meet on Wednesday evenings at 7:00. Middle school youth meet on Friday evenings at 7:00.