Summary: Explore how life returns in Narnia, including Aslan, statues, and creation, and make a direct connection to how Jesus brings us back to life today.

¡§Life Returns¡¨ Eph2:1-10, Matt.11:1-6, 12-18-05, Advent 4, Narnia 4

Children¡¦s message: Well kids, we¡¦re almost there ¡V Christmas is coming next weekend! That also means that we¡¦re on the last part of our story, ¡§The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.¡¨ Watch the screen for the pictures as we read the last section. [see end of sermon for story adapted from the Narnia ¡§Movie Storybook¡¨ and the accompanying pictures. Have pictures displayed on screen so all in the congregation can follow along ¡V have children watch pictures on screen, too] What and who all came back to life in Narnia? Aslan did ¡V just like Jesus came back to life on that first Easter. Mr. Tumnus & others who had been turned into stone statues came back to life, too. How did that happen? Aslan did it, didn¡¦t he! He breathed on them and his breath was life. Listen in the sermon because we¡¦re going to talk more about how that happens even for us as Jesus breathes on us and helps us to really live! Pray and have kids return to their seats.

As we enter Narnia this week, we¡¦re watching life return to this magical world from the winter curse that the White Witch has put on the land. All of Narnia, for the past 100 yrs has been under her curse ¡V and, as you can see by the various pictures on the screen behind me [start looping various still pictures of winter in Narnia and statue scenes], that has included a dark, dreary, hopeless, and forever winter with no Christmas in sight, as well as hundreds of good creatures who have been turned into stone statues because they chose to defy her.

When Edmund first sees these beautiful statues in the courtyard of the Witch¡¦s castle, he finds them amazingly lifelike! They look real and we know why ¡V because that¡¦s the way they used to be, real and alive!

This world of ours is also under a curse ¡V we call it sin. Because of this curse, many in our world have been turned into stone statutes ¡V and they don¡¦t even know it! [If the congregation is comfortable conversing among themselves, do this: Let¡¦s talk for a moment about what that looks like in our lives, in our world today.] So many, even some of us, I would venture to say, are missing the life our Aslan, our Jesus is offering to us.

As we hear in Eph.2:1, we ¡§were dead in our transgressions and sins,¡¨ stone statues, if you will, that had no real life to them at all. That verse goes on to talk about things like ¡§following the ways of this world¡¨ and the ways of Satan, ¡§gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature, following its desires and thoughts.¡¨ We understand from the Bible that we were born into this world without the real life, the full and abundant life that Jesus has come to bring. In the words of John 3, we need to be reborn, we need new life breathed into us. The thing of it is, we can¡¦t fix this problem. No matter how good we are, how hard we try, how disciplined we may be, whatever, it is beyond us. We truly do need help. [stop the pictures]

What we hear, almost from the beginning of the story in Narnia, is that Aslan the lion, the Jesus figure in the story, is on the move. And because he is on the move, there are signs that the spell is weakening. Father Christmas shows up for the first time in a century, the ice over the rivers is starting to thaw, snow is melting everywhere, patches of green grass are starting to show. The children were surprised and amazed at what they saw. With Aslan here, winter was vanishing literally before their very eyes. In a matter of hours it was turning from January to May ¡V which is exactly what would happen when Aslan returned to Narnia.

And so it is for us today. We¡¦re told that it was our God who brought about creation, who made everything we see and know. In Him lies the power not only to create and give life but also to re-create life. One of the 1st things Aslan does after he returns to life from the dead is to head straight for the Witch¡¦s castle. He went to the courtyard filled with stone statues and he began to breathe on them. And by his breath, they started coming back to life!

We hear of this ¡§breath of life¡¨ in several prominent places in the Bible ¡V we hear of it at the creation of the 1st human as the Lord God ¡§breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and Adam became a living being¡¨ (Gen.2:7). We hear of it from Ezekiel and his prophecy of the dry bones and how the Lord breathed into these bones and they came to life (Ezek.37). We hear Jesus breathing on His disciples after He rose from the dead and speaking His peace to them and breathing into them the Holy Spirit, that breath of life.

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