When I was a little girl I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The magical escapism of it drew me in, along with the adventure, the beauty, and the enviable cohesion of the siblings! In fact, I looked for magical wardrobes and closets for years. I mean what child who fell in love with Lewis didn’t, right? I know Cassie, my best friend and cousin, felt exactly the same as me about it. Unfortunately, I was so supremely wedded to Lucy and the wardrobe, that when I tried to next read The Magician’s Nephew, I found neither Lucy nor the wardrobe, and gave up on Narnia in defeat and disappointment. Of course, I should’ve stuck with it! I really missed out.
Instead, I waited until my mid-twenties to fall madly for Lewis’s apologetics. The influence this one man has had on my life, both as a child and an adult, is quite astonishing. Now, there is simply no one I would rather read. I am encouraged and moved by both his fiction and nonfiction. Even a simple Lewis quote can give a hopeful boost to my day. A number of Christmases ago my husband gave me a copy of The Quotable Lewis and I not only adore this book, but I am constantly using it. Lewis’s knack of explaining difficult concepts is uncanny. You may think some theological principal is nearly impossible to grasp, until you read Lewis and then you walk away first thinking, “wow, brilliant” and then, the more you ponder it, “well, of course!”
So you can imagine how rewarding it is for me to witness my sons’ budding love for Lewis. A few years back I read them the first two books in the Narnia series and Will has continued on. On Monday afternoon he finished The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, our prerequisite for seeing the movie. We went that night and it was the first time that just he and I have gone to a movie. He was just giddy to be out without his brothers and every time I looked over at him he had a smile on his face. I guess maybe I need to be more intentional about spending time with just him!
But the sweetest thing was on the way home. It was a downright frigid night and so I let him ride up front for the very brief trip. Half shivering, he said, “You know, I think Lewis didn’t want to call Aslan’s country ‘heaven’ because he wanted to keep it holy.” Is that insightful, or what?
I’m so glad he knows that Heaven is more than an allegory. It is more than a longing. It is more than a fanciful, psychological crutch. It is real place, where real people go, and it is indeed holy. Yet we are not entitled to go there. We cannot earn our way there. We cannot hope to be good enough, because holy is the standard, not good. Holiness demands a blameless perfection that is simply unattainable. Yet that blameless perfection is why the Baby is in the manger. His perfection is ours for the taking. He paid the price for every sin ever committed.
I hope when you see Jesus this Christmas, and thankfully he’s pretty hard to miss, you can say you’ve accepted His free and perfect gift. May His peace and joy be yours this week and always.