“Always winter and never Christmas”
By Benji McKay
This was the result of a curse placed on the land of Narnia by the White Witch, in C.S Lewis’ ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’. For a very long time, the land and the people of Narnia were forced to endure the icy effects of winter, while being deprived of the joy of Christmas. Nothing escaped the effects of the cruelty of the curse of the White Witch.
In chapter 10, however, the Pevensie children, along with their beaver companions, encounter someone that fills them with great hope. Arriving on sledge, with the chime of sleigh bells, they meet Father Christmas; Christmas had finally come. In the film adaptation of the book there is an amazing scene just after the Pevensies meet Father Christmas where they are walking through a snow-covered forest, and they all look up to see the trees. As they do this, the camera zooms into a branch and we see the ice on it starting to melt, and the pink blossom starting to bloom. Christmas had come and they were witnessing the beginning of the end of winter. The effects of the curse were starting to recede, and in their encounter with Father Christmas they are told the reason for this good news; Aslan was on the move.
For those who are familiar with the Chronicles of Narnia, you will know that C.S Lewis writes these books with the intention of communicating spiritual realities through allegory, and in the ‘Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ he achieves this in a special way. In these stories, Aslan the lion is the ‘Christ-figure’, and as we see him come to Narnia, we see that the White Witch’s (Satan) power and the effects of the curse (sin) begin to dwindle. This is a beautiful illustration of the hope that we look to in a particular way at Christmas, namely in the first advent of Jesus.
Whether it be in school or church plays, or in a Christmas decoration with the manger at the centre, as soon as we flip back the penultimate page of our calendars, the nativity story immediately becomes a prominent feature of the next twenty-five days. We know that remembering the birth of Jesus at Christmas holds immense personal significance for Christians because “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5). This is truly ‘good news of great joy’.
We want to maintain that the personal significance of the birth of Jesus is something to truly be treasured up in our hearts. However, this illustration in ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ serves to broaden the scope of this significance, simultaneously exciting the personal significance, and emphasising the cosmic significance. We saw that when Aslan was on the move, the effects of the curse started to reverse, and in a remarkably similar way, we see that when Jesus enters our world and embarks on his ministry, there are occasions where we see the effects of sin being rolled back. Whether it be when Jesus heals someone, or casts out a demon, what we witness is a foretaste of the heavenly reality promised to those who love Christ. The first advent of Jesus holds cosmic significance because on His arrival, plans that were made in eternity past—for the redemption of not just God’s people, but the whole of creation—are put in motion. Paul shows us in Romans 8 that we as people, along with the whole of creation ‘groan’ with eager expectation because we have an intrinsic intuition that we, and the world we live in are not as they are meant to be because of the effects of sin. This is precisely why the first advent of Christ holds such deep significance, and such robust hope for us as Christians. The first advent of Christ brings a foretaste of what will be fully experienced in the second advent of Christ. Where in the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, the salvation of the world is totally secured. In the return of Christ, the redemption of His people and His creation will be fully and finally realised. Our world, and the people in it are weary, but at Christmas time the weary world rejoices because the Messiah entered the world to bring salvation, redemption, transformation, and the hope of glory. It is truly a blessing for us as Christians at Christmas time to meditate upon the personal and the cosmic significance of the coming of Christ, because this truth assures us that the curse is broken now, and that one day all of the treacherous effects of sin will be a thing of the past.