Summary: This is the first of 3 messages (with an advent theme) relating the story of Christmas to the story of Narnia. It sets the context of the story.
CAPTURING THE WONDER OF CHRISTMAS
-- Pastor Mark Thornton --
Sunday, November 27, 2005
(Note - this is more of an outline than a manuscript. I elaborated and illustrated more than what is printed here.)
* One of the drawbacks of celebrating Christmas every year is that the story of Jesus’ birth is so FAMILIAR that it loses its SENSE OF AWE & WONDER.
* One of the ways we can RECAPTURE THE WONDER OF CHRISTMAS is by approaching it in a DIFFERENT WAY.
For generations, people have harnessed the Power of Story to express the magic and meaning of Christmas. Most of us have been enchanted by stories like “The Night Before Christmas” and “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” which, regardless of how many times we hear them, still bring a sense of joy and meaning to the season. Another familiar story, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has been used to convey important truths about human nature and the “Christmas Spirit”.
Why are we so enchanted by stories such as these? Because a Good Story has the Power to Capture our Imagination. It can carry us off into another place and time, and enable us to experience something wonderful and amazing. It can also be used to teach us about life and about ourselves.
One of the greatest stories ever written is coming to forefront once again – C.S. Lewis’ masterpiece: The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Although it was written over 50 years ago, this amazing work of fantasy has inspired and enchanted readers for generations. And it is a story which has a great deal of significance to us as Christians, especially during this time of year.
Why is NARNIA so significant to us, especially now?
1) This Story has been MADE INTO A MOVIE. As many of you are already aware, Disney and Walden Media have collaborated to bring this remarkable story to the big screen. We anticipate that it is going to be one of the biggest movies of the year.
2) This Story contains many BIBLICAL PARALLELS & TRUTHS. The author, C.S. Lewis, was a Christian who wanted to use the power of story to convey different elements of his faith to his readers – and to inspire them to discover Christ for themselves.
3) As a church, we want to Assist and Empower you to Communicate the TRUTH BEHIND THE STORY. Since people are going to be talking about the story, we want to help you to see and understand the biblical connections within the story (movie) so that you can communicate to people around you. We believe that this will be a remarkable opportunity for telling people about Jesus, and we want you to be equipped to share.
4) We want to Help you to REGAIN THE WONDER of Christmas. Again, by coming at the Christmas message from a different angle, we believe that we will be reminded of the power and awe of Jesus’ birth and life.
(** Note – at this point, I gave a brief introduction to the story – LWW – introducing the context and the characters both through words and pictures on screen)
MAKING THE CONNECTION – Like Narnia…
1) Our World Was Full Of WONDER.
When Lucy (and the later, the other children) first entered the land of Narnia, they were amazed. Narnia was a beautiful place, full of wonder and amazement. They had never seen a place like this – it was “fantastic.” What’s more, it was a place full of animals and other amazing creatures that could talk and interact with them. Their first impressions was one of amazement.
The Bible tells us that this world in which we live was a place much like that – full of wonder and astonishing beauty. Listen to how the Scriptures describe it:
-- In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was empty, a formless mass cloaked in darkness… Then God said, "Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that it was GOOD… Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was EXCELLENT in every way. Genesis 1:2-4a, 31 – NLT)
As remarkable as our world is now, it was absolutely astonishing when it was first created – excellent in every way. All of us admire and appreciate the work of a stone mason or a carpenter or an artist – people that take something ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary. That is exactly what God did – only He started with nothing. And there is nothing that can compare to his Creation.
-- “The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous CRAFTSMANSHIP.” (Psalm 19:1 – NLT)
What’s more, this world continues to be a place of wonder. Every day, scientists discover more and more of nature, and they are baffled by the intricate design of the world.