Walking around Green Gables Heritage Place yesterday, the Canadian National Park containing the house and grounds that inspired the Anne of Green Gables series, I saw thousands of people from all over the world who had come to this place because of the power of a story. Like me, making a pilgrimage here for my 30th birthday, Anne enthusiasts from Japan, Europe, the U.S., and Canada flock to the family home of L.M. Montgomery to be immersed in the landscape of which she wrote. We who love the Anne of Green Gables series, with its spirited heroine and charming setting, can’t get enough of this idyllic place, in which we can almost imagine ourselves as part of Anne’s world.
That the story of Anne is so captivating is not surprising. She is a character who makes mistakes, but still manages to be good. She suffers from many devastating life events, but still finds happiness every day. Anne teaches us to always dream, to treat people well, and to remember that each day is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.
But her story is not just captivating, it’s transformational. Research has shown that reading Anne of Green Gables helps people be more positive and can even be a tool to help treat depression. I know that reading the series helped me make it through a difficult time after finishing college. Reading about Anne’s perseverance made me feel that I could persevere too. I have passed on my love of all things Anne to many people over the years. When they hear how much this story has meant to me, they look to it to provide meaning in their own lives.
As Christian preachers, we know a story that is more captivating and transformational than any other in history. Since God so loved the world enough to give His only son, this story has changed the world and its people in profound ways. We preachers have the opportunity to pass on our love of this story and our testimony of what it has meant in our lives to those who are seeking.
We point people to this story by sharing how it has intersected with our own. Once people hear how much this story has meant to our lives, they will look to it to provide meaning in their own. And their lives will be changed, because stories have power. And this is the most powerful story of all.