Saturday, December 3, 2011

Always Winter, Never Christmas

One of the worst realities I can think of is the setting of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: always winter, but never Christmas.

When I first read the book as an eight-year-old, I thought immediately about the fact that Mr. Tumnus and the beavers never had presents or carols or a Christmas trees with those bulbs that make your nose look big when you hold them up to your face.

But the Narnians needed more than the outward trappings of the holidays. They were longing for things that they could hardly remember, but that they somehow knew were missing: hope, joy, and peace.

Like Narnia, our world was once frozen in always winter, never Christmas. But then, two things happened.
Jesus came. (That would be Christmas, in case you weren’t aware.)

And, because of His death and resurrection, winter began to melt away, making way for spring. The powers of winter were destroyed forever.

Sometimes, though, the first Christmas and Easter can feel very far away. Sometimes we’re stuck in a season that feels like a long winter. Nothing is thawing, and it looks like spring will never come, or at least not as soon as we want it to.

But there’s still Christmas in the middle. And Christmas reminds us that Jesus came to bring us life, that someday we will be in heaven, where winter will die its final death.

In the meantime, even when life is hard and cold and bitter, we still have hope. When life is not merry and holly jolly, Christmas is an act of faith, a choice.

For a few days of the year, I choose to remember the message of peace on earth, goodwill to men
for unto you is born a Savior, Christ the Lord. I choose to believe that God has not left us alone in always winter, never Christmas.

It was a fictional children’s book that taught me that very grown-up lesson, which demonstrates the power of fiction. Instead of persuading us that the winter is logical, stories give us a picture of what happens when God shows up in the midst of winter.

They help us believe like a child again.

1 comment:

  1. Book 7 of the Chronicles of Narnia still paints the clearest picture of heaven my mind can grasp... only if you've read the others, of course. I think that the fact that it was written for a younger audience is part of what makes it work for me, as the reality of heaven is more than the human mind can fully realize.

    This is, of course, true of the cross... Aslan paints an amazing portrait!