Summary: Second in the Series - Asks listeners to believe the unbelievable - to have faith in the fantastic claims of Christmas.
Christmas in Narnia
FAIRY TALE OR REALITY?
During these days leading to Christmas, the world’s attention has been drawn back to a classic children’s tale written in 1950 by CS Lewis – The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. As we mentioned last week, Lewis was one of the great writers and thinkers of the last century, and was a great defender of the claims of Christianity in the academic world of Oxford University in England. Though he was a professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature, he had a special place in his heart for fantasy and fiction. His books include science fiction, theological discourses and children’s stories. In one of his first science fiction books, Out of the Silent Planet, the hero is loosely based on Lewis’ good friend, JRR Tolkien. They were both professors at Cambridge, and discussed writing children’s books. Tolkien, of course, wrote The Lord of the Rings books, and Lewis later wrote the Chronicles of Narnia.
The first of the Narnia books to be released was The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, in which we are introduced to four siblings, two sisters (Lucy and Susan) and two brothers, (Edmund and Peter). The story begins with the four of them going to spend the summer at the estate of their uncle, who happens to be a professor. One day, while exploring the house, they discover a wardrobe filled with fur coats. Lucy loves the feel of fur on her skin, so when the other three moved on to explore the next room, Lucy stepped into the wardrobe and sank into the soft lush furs – but as she walked deeper into the wardrobe, she found it did not end – and eventually she found herself in a deep wood – snow at he feet, and a lamppost in the distance.
Lucy had entered Narnia – where strange creatures lived in a world that was under the curse of the White Witch. She first met Mr. Tumnus, a faun who told her all about this strange and wonderful land. Under the witch’s wicked rule, everyone was forced to live in a world where it was always winter, but never Christmas. But there was a glimmer of hope – the people looked forward to the return of ASLAN – the rightful ruler of and creator of Narnia. When ASLAN came, He would bring the warmth and joy of summer back to the land.
Lucy spent what seemed like hours talking to Mr. Tumnus, but when she realized that she had to return, she found that no time had passed at all on the other side of the wardrobe. She found her brothers and sister, and excitedly told them the story of the land beyond the wardrobe, the faun, the witch, and the great Lion ASLAN.
Imagine looks on their faces! What an imagination! But she insisted that it was true – to the point where her older brothers and sister got angry at her for lying to them! They were so concerned that they went to their uncle, the professor, and explained the situation to him. He was wise, and he asked a few good questions:
Did Lucy often lie to them?
No – in fact she was the most truthful of them all – she never lied!
Had she shown any signs of fever or illness?
No – she seemed very well.
Does she indicate any mental or emotional instability?
No – she seemed perfectly sound - except for this strange talk of other worlds!
The professor sat back and said, “Well, if someone who is generally regarded as reliable and who shows no signs of illness or instability tells you something, then you have to consider that what they said may indeed be true.”
The others were astounded! “What! Believe in this fantastic tale of talking animals, evil witches and good lions – an entire fantasy world - all in a closet upstairs!!??? Perhaps the professor’s gone a bit wacky himself!”
Have you ever been asked to believe something that just seemed unbelievable? In this day of urban legends and email fantasies, you hardly know what to believe anymore. When I tell someone that my earliest ancestor to arrive in the New World was a Scottish missionary, they think that’s cool. When I tell them that a couple of generations later one of my forebears, George Ross, signed the Declaration of Independence, it’s really cool – then that his daughter in law Betsy, made the earliest flags for the new nation, it’s amazing. Then when I tell them that one of my cousins was the first man to orbit the earth – and later a United States Senator, and ran for president - I’ve lost them – it’s just too much to believe…