Summary: A comparison of how the story of Christmas and the Chronicles of Narnia bring hope to our lives, as presented in the story "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" by C. S. Lewis.
TITLE: “Anticipating Hope”
This year we are being faced with a situation that I never thought I’d see in my lifetime, at least not in America. Many of the major shopping centers and department stores have decided that they were going to take the word “Christmas” out of their advertising and use “holiday” instead so they wouldn’t offend anyone. Most of us haven’t really noticed, because seeing trees with lights, Santa Clause, snowmen and hearing “Jingle Bells” makes us think of Christmas, whether it’s spelled out or not. But, step by step, Christmas is being taken out of the winter holiday season. If we are not careful, it could be always winter, but never Christmas.
Today, I want you to ask yourselves two questions as I start this message. The first question is, can you imagine what it would be like if it were always winter, and never Christmas? Second, have you ever seen a picture in your mind of something that’s unusual, not necessarily haunting, or bad in any way, but something that continues to come to your mind over and over?
When C. S. Lewis was sixteen years old, a picture of “a faun (half-goat and half-man) in a snowy forest holding an umbrella and carrying packages”(1) kept going through his head. Approximately twenty-four years later, in 1950, he decided to write a fanciful story about it. Since then, more than 1 million books about that story have been purchased each year.
This Friday, Disney Studios will release the film that they believe will be their most widely-watched film in history, based on the same children’s book. They have invested more than 100 million dollars believing it will go down in history as their best-selling movie.
This book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, was the first book published in a series of books known as The Chronicles of Narnia. The movie has simply been named Narnia. If you have never heard of, or read this book, you might ask: What is so special about a children’s story? Why have more than 1 million Narnia related books been purchased each year? . . . The answer is simple. It is because this book is not just a fairy tale, it is a metaphor of the greatest event in history. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is the story of Jesus Christ. It is the Christmas story, wrapped up in a land called “Narnia”, where it is always winter, but never Christmas.
Jesus Christ changed history, beginning with his birth. Hopefully, this series of messages on the land of Narnia, the land where animals can talk, a land ruled by a wicked witch, a land where it is always winter, but never Christmas will open your eyes to the truth of Christmas.
Today we will look at the backgrounds of C. S. Lewis’ Narnia and the historical birth of Jesus.
READ TEXT: (Read the Matthew text here – it includes Herod, where the Luke text doesn’t.)
Because of the number of points and sub-points in today’s message I will only have time to make very brief comments on each area. We can begin with the creators.
I. The creators
First is the author of Narnia, C. S. Lewis.
A. The author of Naria
Lewis was an avowed atheist until he was 29 years old. In October of 1916 he wrote a friend,
“I believe in no religion. There is absolutely no proof for any of them, and from a philosophical standpoint Christianity is not even the best. All religions, that is, all mythologies to give them their proper name, are merely man’s own invention.”
His life changed dramatically when he became a professor at Oxford. Lewis became friends with two other Oxford professors, who were Christians. One was Hugh Dyson, the other was J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings.
In time Lewis was convinced that the faith of Dyson and Tolkien was more than mere words. The summer of 1929 brought major spiritual changes to the life of Lewis. He became convinced that Jesus Christ really was an historic figure, the Son of God, who really did die on the Cross as a substitute for sins of the world. Lewis accepted Jesus Christ into his life and became a defender of the Christian faith.
During World War II, the British Broadcasting Company asked Lewis to do a series of lectures on the radio. All of the British people were so attracted to the broadcasts that Lewis became the second most famous person in all of England, second only to Winston Churchill.
The BBC lectures were later published in a book that is titled, “Mere Christianity.” Some would say that it is the most powerful explanation of Christianity outside of the Bible itself.