Summary: This sermon uses the image of the lamppost in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" to explore the Light of Christmas, Jesus Christ.
Rev. Lin Smalec Salem Church, Waynesboro, PA
DISCOVER THE LIGHT OF CHRISTMAS
Third Sunday of Advent
11 December 2005
One thing I hate about this time of year is how dark it is. For some of us, we go to work in the dark, and come home in the dark. I recently read a news story about a little village in Austria named Rattenberg. It is “the smallest town in Austria, and getting smaller each year. The town has lost 20 percent of its population in the past two decades, and as of 2005 had only 440 residents. The reason? Darkness. Rattenberg is nestled behind Rat Mountain—a 3,000-foot obstruction that blocks out the sun from November to February.” Can you imagine that? No sunlight at all for 4 months of the year! “But thanks to some clever new technology, the town’s situation is about to get a little brighter. An Austrian company ... has come up with a plan to bring sunshine into the darkness by installing 30 heliostat mirrors onto the mountainside. The mirrors will grab light from reflectors on the sunny-side of the mountain and shine it back into the town.” The cost of this project? $2.4 million dollars! But if it works, it will be worth every penny, and will bring hope to the 60 other Alpine communities who suffer the same darkness every winter! (1)
One of the most important themes of Advent and Christmas is light - God’s light, sent into our world in and through His Son, Jesus. The Light of Christmas banishes the darkness of our frozen souls and illuminates the very love of God. And we find the theme of light within the story of Narnia.
In chapter 1 of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, when Lucy first stumbles through the wardrobe into the land of Narnia, what does she see there, besides snow and dark tree trunks? Light! She sees light glowing ahead of her, through the dark woods. Listen to how C. S. Lewis describes this scene: “[Lucy] began to walk forward, crunch-crunch over the snow and through the wood toward the other light. In about ten minutes she reached it and found it was a lamppost. As she stood looking at it, wondering why there was a lamppost in the middle of a wood and wondering what to do next, she heard a pitter patter of feet coming toward her.” And of course, in the light of the lamppost is where Lucy first meets the faun, Mr. Tumnus, and begins her adventures in Narnia.
Now when Edmund first enters Narnia, it’s interesting to note that he does not seem to see the lamppost - he does see light, but it is the light of the sun, rising in the pale blue wintry sky (chapter 3). Ironically, it is the White Witch who points out the lamppost to Edmund, when he says he doesn’t know the way back to his own country. “That’s easy”, she says, “Do you see that lamp?” and she points to the lamppost - “Straight on, beyond that, is the way to the World of Men.” (chapter 4)
And, as those of you who have finished the book and/or seen the movie know, one day many years later, when the four children are the kings and queens of Narnia, they come upon the lamppost once again as they are hunting the mysterious white stag. And the lamppost lights the way back to their own world (chapter 17).
In this first book of the Chronicles of Narnia, we never learn about the origin of the lamppost. That story is told in the sixth book of the series, “The Magician’s Nephew”, which some sets of the Narnia series use as the first book, because it tells the story of the creation of Narnia. In that book, a piece of a lamppost from our own world is brought into another world by Queen Jadis, who we know as the White Witch. Just as Aslan is bringing Narnia to life, Jadis throws the piece of lamppost at him, and, like a seed, it falls to the ground and begins to grow. It eventually becomes the lamppost which shines in Narnia eternally, day and night (3, chapters 9 and 15).
So what do we know about the lamppost in Narnia? Three things - it was there from the beginning of the creation of that world, it shines eternally, and it lights the way between worlds - between the world of Narnia and our own world.
It is no accident that C. S. Lewis, in crafting this wondrous tale of Narnia, uses the image of light in this fashion. I imagine that he had several verses of scripture in mind:
From the book of Genesis - “In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness