Summary: Using "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" along with the Biblical story of Simeon, a look at how Jesus’ coming brings an end to the long winter of humanity’s separation from God.
Always winter…but never Christmas.
Try to imagine that for a moment. Always winter…but never Christmas.
Of course, at this point in the season some of you Moms and Dads out there might be thinking, “YES!”
But really…imagine for a moment what it would be like if Christmas never came…but winter never left.
What would that be like?
When we first started telling friends and family we were moving to Michigan, there was one question we got asked a lot:
“So, do you like…winter?”
We, of course, responded with an enthusiastic, “yes!”
After all, how bad could it be?
Now, we still do like winter, but after a couple of years it sure has a different meaning than it used to for us.
Recently I came across a list on the internet entitled, “25 Signs You’re From Michigan”
Let me share just a few with you.
1. The word "thumb" has a geographical rather than an anatomical significance.
2. You know how to play euchre.
3. You occasionally cheer "Go Lions -- and take the Tigers with you."
And then these three:
4. Your Little League baseball game was snowed out.
5. Your year has two seasons, winter and construction.
6. You define summer as three months of bad sledding.
Now we may know a thing or two about long winters, but they do eventually end.
The flowers reappear.
The sun comes out.
The snow blowers go into storage.
But in the land of Narnia, as C.S. Lewis describes it in “The Lion,the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” winter hasn’t seen an end for a hundred years.
And as young Lucy exclaims, “How awful!”
How awful indeed.
Winter is a tough enough season to make it through under normal circumstances.
Why do you suppose that is?
What is it about winter that makes it so…depressing?
And I don’t use that term lightly. For many people, this is a time of year when depression is a very real experience.
It can be a mild case of the “winter blues,” it can be full-blown Seasonal Affective Disorder, perhaps it’s the ongoing struggle over the loss of someone very dear...
Winter can be very tough.
It’s not just cold--
it’s bleak, dark, and barren.
That’s why it’s such a perfect image for Lewis to use in this first Narnia book.
It’s not just a physical reality…it’s a metaphor for the dark and sinister force that holds Narnia firmly in its grip.
Narnia was once a lush and beautiful land, but evil has reared its ugly head in the character of the White Witch.
Her reign of terror keeps the land in eternal winter.
And C.S. Lewis knew a thing or two about evil and the reign of terror.
It’s easy to forget that “The Chronicles of Narnia” were written not long after the end of World War II, in the lingering shadows of Nazi tyranny and oppression.
Living in Europe, C.S. Lewis saw that first hand.
And there are echoes of that experience in the reign of the White Witch.
Where secret police whisk away suspected traitors who are never seen again, where fear and intimidation keep those who hope for freedom underground…sometimes literally, where the pervading sense of hopelessness, darkness, and despair are captured perfectly in just five words:
Always winter…but never Christmas.
Until four children appear, the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve, or more informally…Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy.
They stumble into this land by accident, but find themselves there by design.
Because even in the midst of the terrible, long winter, there remains the faint whisper of an ages-old prophecy.
One that involves the four children, but centers on someone else.
Someone named Aslan.
The children learn about this mysterious figure from, of all things, a pair of beavers, who tell them of an ancient rhyme:
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more.
When he bears his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
Even in the darkest of times in Narnia, there is hope.
Hope that one day the White Witch would be gone, and her endless winter with her.
Because Aslan is coming…or as they say in the book, “Aslan is on the move!”
“Oh, that I would live to see the day,” says Mrs. Beaver.
Words that have no doubt echoed in similar situations throughout the ages.
You can hear it in the hearts of those who longed for an end to the winter of South African apartheid...
In the cries of those who suffered in the cold darkness of Dachau and Buchenwald...
In the hopes of those who even today fight for the rights of the oppressed and persecuted around the world.
“Oh, that I would live to see the day.”