Summary: This sermon was preached on Christmas Eve following the release of "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" and deals with the question "What if there were no Christmas?"
He was born on November 29th, 1898 in Belfast, Ireland. His father was a successful lawyer who provided a large home with dark narrow passages and an overgrown garden where they played often.
Tragically, their rather idyllic childhood came to a screeching halt when their mother became sick and died of cancer in 1908. Within a month Clive Staples Lewis and his brother found themselves in a boarding school in England.
As a child the Lewis family had been Christians attending the Church of England. But as Lewis entered adolescence, he came to see religion as nonsense and began professing to be an atheist.
In 1916 he entered college only soon thereafter to volunteer for active duty in the British Army during WWI. At first he enjoyed the service and was proud to be engaged in such a patriotic cause. However, as he witnessed death, disease, and destruction he lost a great deal of his idealism. In 1918 after being wounded by an exploding shell he was sent home to recover. He reentered the university and finished college to begin teaching.
In the summer of 1929 while riding on a double decker bus he suddenly felt he had no choice but to acknowledge a belief in God and so he went home and alone in his room he knelt and prayed.
After having published his journey to faith and establishing himself as a writer he was approached during WWII and asked to write a book on suffering. “The Problem of Pain” prompted the BBC to invite him to host a series of live talks on Christianity – a series which propelled him to fame in England and abroad as he became the most popular voice in England, second only to Winston Churchill.
During the bombings of London in WWII C.S. Lewis opened his home to some children who were being evacuated from the city. One of these young refugees was fascinated by a wardrobe in Lewis’ home, imagining that there was a way out through the other side. Lewis was so captivated by this child’s imagination around this wardrobe that he wrote the book “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”
In the story four children – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy – go to stay with a reclusive old professor in a mysterious country house. While playing hide-and-seek, Lucy, the youngest, comes across a wardrobe and discovers that it leads to another world – a land called Narnia. Narnia is inhabited by talking animals and is ruled by a lion named Aslan, a good and powerful king. However, Narnia has come under the spell of the evil White Witch, who has caused it to be always winter but never Christmas.
For Lewis, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” was more than just a story – it was his story – for Lewis saw himself as a Narnian long before he ever had given a name to the country.
Can you imagine a place where it is always winter but never Christmas? That’s a kid’s worst nightmare! Can you imagine a place where there is no sign of relief from cold and harsh days? A place where hope is elusive? A place where life continues to deal you tough blows – but never gives you a break? Can you understand what it means to feel as if there is no hope – to be held captive by pain and not be able to see any relief in sight – to think that the suffering and agony and the void that you’re experiencing today – will be characteristic of the rest of your life!
While Narnia is a figment of the imagination – the reality is C.S. Lewis’ fiction is all too real for many of us.
Some of you who are here this evening can understand what Narnia is like. You’ve lost hope this year. You’ve suffered like no other time in your life. Perhaps you’ve experienced some of the darkest moments you’ve ever walked through. Perhaps you’ve been up for nights crying until there were no more tears left in you – and you feel as if nothing is ever going to be right again. In this season of joy and peace – you have anything but. You are a Narnian. For you it seems that it’s always winter but never Christmas.
The fact is, we are all Narnians. We live in a day and an age in which hope is hard to come by. A day and age in which we live with the fear of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. A time in which nuclear and biological warfare are realities which we are being forced to talk about. An era in which fear has become a way of life.
As “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” continues, before Lucy can get back to tell the others about Narnia, her rather bad-tempered brother Edmund discovers it for himself. He is taken up by the White Witch, who lures him to her side with a soft, sweet candy known as Turkish Delight and promises of power. After having essentially sold himself to the Witch, Edmund owed the Witch his life.