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Narnia—Always Winter, Never Christmas

winter

By Robert Marsh

Scripture: Ephesians 2:12-2:12

The Chronicles of Narnia centers on four children – Peter, Susan, Edmond and Lucy – who are sent to their uncle’s home to escape the Nazi bombings in London.

While exploring the huge home on the first day there, the children stumble upon a wonderful wardrobe – a freestanding closet full of fur coats. Lucy, the youngest, loves the feel of fur on her skin, so when the other children leave to explore the next room of the house, Lucy enters the wardrobe and relishes the feel of the fur against her face – but the wardrobe keeps going – deeper and deeper, until she finds herself emerging from a wood, with snow on the ground, and a lamp post in the distance.

The wardrobe becomes our pathway to the wonderful land of Narnia. Lucy is introduced first to a faun, who invites her to his home for tea. The faun, Mr. Tumnus, tells Lucy all about the land of Narnia – where at one time there were great and glorious days of summer – with “rivers of wine,” dancing, joy and music. Those days are long gone, however, because the evil reign of the White Witch. She claims to be the queen of Narnia, but Tumnus makes it clear that she is not the rightful ruler of the land. She has placed Narnia under a curse and as a result Narnia has become a place where it’s “always winter, but never Christmas.”

That’s a dreadful thought isn’t it? For those of us in Wisconsin, winters are long and cold – but the joy and warmth of Christmas makes it a very special time of year. Try to imagine, if you can, a world without Christmas. No Christmas trees, gifts, or visits to grandma’s house. No carols, shopping or gathering with friends. No Grinch, Rudolph or Charlie Brown specials on the television. None of those great holiday movies…

One of the movies that I love to watch at this time of year is a wonderful film from 50 years ago. In 1946, It’s A Wonderful Life hit the theaters. It’s the story of George Bailey, who gets so down on himself that he decides the world would have been better off if he’d never been born – and he sets out to commit suicide. But God sends an angel named Clarence to show George just how the world would have been affected if he had never been born. It shows that every life is important, and that we all impact others in ways we never imagined.

But more to the point of our talk today – if we lived in a world that was always winter, but never Christmas – there’d be no Christ! What if Jesus had never been born? What if He had never lived, taught, died and risen from the dead? What would the world be like?

It might interest you to know that I’m not the first person to ponder this question. There was a pastor about 2000 years ago who also thought about the state of the world without Christ, and he left some clues as to what he thought it would be like – His name was Paul, and his thoughts on the subject are considered to be inspired by God Himself – so let’s look at his writings instead of my thoughts on the subject!

In Ephesians 2:12, Paul describes a world without Christ. He says, “[Remember] that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

There’s a pretty bleak picture. For a moment, ponder the weight of those words – “aliens from God’s people, strangers from His promises, no hope, without God in the world.” I don’t know if there could be any worse description of life than the two words “without hope.” It sounds like a land where it’s always winter, but never Christmas.

Each year, beginning on June 22, the number of minutes of sunlight we enjoy each day begins to shrink. From 15 hours and 2 minutes on that day, the time we have in the sun shrinks until December 22, when we have only 9 hours and 20 minutes. But as we approach that shortest day, I find myself telling people around me, and reminding myself, that the days immediately start getting longer again – gradually building till that wonderful 15 hour day in June! We need that hope – that reminder that things will once again return to the warmth and light of summer!

But imagine if there were no hope – imagine if on December 23, the minutes of daylight kept getting fewer – and scientists told us that it would never get better – no hope! Imagine the despair of being hope-less! Of feeling there is no end to the misery, no light at the end of the tunnel – no reason or purpose to go on.

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all.”

That’s how the world would be with no Christmas – and it is the way the world is today without Christ.

You see, Lewis intended Narnia to be a picture of this world. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, the world was placed under the curse of sin – Paul says in Romans 8 that all of creation has been placed under this curse, and “groans as if in the pain of childbirth right up to this very time.” When sin entered the world, the whole of the earth was plunged into darkness, separated from God, made alien to Him, without His promise and without hope.

The one who claims to be the ruler of this world was Satan. To many he appears to be beautiful and powerful – a “White Witch” if you will – the Bible describes him as an “angel of light” and “the prince of the power of the air.” His goal is to keep the “sons of Adam” and “daughters of Eve” in captivity- oppressed and in darkness – and to ultimately destroy them. He knows that he can inflict the deepest wound on God by destroying God’s greatest love – you.

You see, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is actually a literary telling of the greatest love story every told. The epic battle between ultimate good and most horrible evil. The imprisonment and threatening of loved ones, and the fight and sacrifice of the lover to free them at any cost. It is, in short, the good news – the gospel. For while Narnia was a land where it was always winter, but never Christmas, it was not a land without hope. The people of Narnia were waiting for the coming of the great Lion – ASLAN – who would take his rightful place on the throne, destroy the curse, and bring life to the desolate world. Aslan did come, and did the most unexpected things – but I won’t spoil it for you – read the book! See the film!

In your life, you may be feeling like you’re stuck in perpetual winter, but there’s no Christmas…it’s cold, dark, gloomy and depressing. Worst of all, you may feel like there’s no hope. You may feel alienated from God’s people, a stranger to His promises, without hope, and without Christ in the world. If that’s you, let me tell you some wonderful news! Christmas came! There is hope – not just that the days will get longer as we move toward June of next year – but that you can have life – a life free from guilt and shame – a life that is filled with the light of Jesus – a life where the dark cold of isolation breaks into the warm fellowship of love.

God loves YOU! He loves you so much that He sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, the Lion of Judah, to go to whatever lengths were necessary to free you from the bondage of sin. That required His death – His blood was shed to pay the ransom for your soul – so that you can become a child of God…

The Bible says,

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

To those who receive Him, to them he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12) Christ suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit. (I Peter 3:18).

Ladies and Gentlemen, don’t let the angel of light, the prince of the power of the air, the enemy of your soul, keep you in bondage this year! Don’t allow him to blind you any longer to the hope and the life that is available to you through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – don’t allow yourself to go through another winter without experiencing Christmas!