Christmas in Narnia
- Monday, December 16, 2013
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is perhaps one of the most iconic children’s books ever written. C.S. Lewis’ tale of four children adventuring into the magical land of Narnia has enchanted readers for generations, simply because Lewis could invoke the wonder and joy that lay in certain images, like Christmas. Though its appearance in Narnia is very brief, the celebration of Christmas means a great deal to the tiny book. It reveals many gifts of understanding that are placed between the pages. So, with the advent season drawing steadily to a close, here are three lessons we can learn from watching Christmas in Narnia.
God is Stronger
“Always winter, but never Christmas.” That’s what the faun, Mr. Tumnus, tells Lucy when they first meet in the woods of Narnia. To a child, such an idea would be horrifying. No trees? No stockings? No presents? This White Witch really is evil!
But then comes an event that changes everything, the arrival of Santa Claus. In his first appearance since the evil queen covered the land in ice and snow, Father Christmas meets the Pevensie children with gifts, and a declaration that warms the heart of every reader,
“She has kept me out for a longtime, but I have got in at last. Aslan is on the move.”
Over the years, many Christians have taken to the idea of a “War on Christmas”. We believe that if everyone starts wishing us “Happy Holidays” or if we stop calling our decorations “Christmas ornaments” that Jesus will somehow disappear. If we learn anything from this scene in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, it should be that nothing is further from the truth. God is stronger than commercialism, he is strongerthan our fear, and He will be moving in this season regardless of what people call it.
God is Generous
Speaking of Santa Claus, you can’t mention Christmas without bringing up the subject of presents. Most fans of Narnia will remember the tools given to the Pevensie children during their quest: A sword and shield for Peter, a bow and horn for Susan, a small dagger and a magical cordial for Lucy. However, there are a few parts of this scene that often go overlooked. For instance, there are the gifts for Mr. and Mrs. Beaver as well. Mrs. Beaver finally gets her new sewing machine, and Mr. Beaver learns his dame has been completely repaired (something that makes him gasp with joy).
Then come the tea and biscuits. It’s a ridiculous concept, but before he leaves, Father Christmas serves the party their afternoon tea. As humorous as this scene may be to us, there really is nothing more enjoyable, more satisfying, or heartwarming, than a good meal in the company of friends. Lewis knew this, and I believe this scene was meant to show how simple generosity can restore someone both physically and spiritually. What better time for generosity than Christmas?
A simple gift has the power to open hearts, and restore souls. It was only by the generosity of others that many of us came to know Christ at all. Remember to demonstrate God’s kindness to others this season, even if it’s just with tea and biscuits.
God is Near
Lewis’ final nod to Christmas is written in its passing. While Peter, Susan, and Lucy are enjoying their time with the Beavers, their brother, Edmund, runs away to join the White Witch. After interrogating Edmund, the Witch decides to apprehend the rest of the Pevensie children herself, and sets out with her captive aboard her sleigh. As the two travel across the snowy landscape, Edmund begins to notice that the sleigh is moving slower and slower. Looking around, he realizes the ice and snow are melting.
Grass and flowers are growing again, and other signs of spring have started to manifest. Eventually, the sleigh is unable to move at all and a furious White Witch must acknowledge that Aslan has returned. Christmas is a time for remembrance, but it is also a time to look forward. Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection were only the first chapter in God’s great story. Just as Aslan came to thaw a world desperate for His presence, Christ will one day return and restore us to our proper home.
And that is a very encouraging thought to have for Christmas.
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