Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Back through the Wardrobe

. . . they departed to their own country by another way (Matthew 2:12)

They no longer recognized the lamppost that had marked their point of entry into Narnia.

In Narnian time, years had passed. The main characters – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy – had been ruling as Kings and Queens in Narnia. The White Witch and the land’s deep freeze were a distant memory.

So when the four rulers came upon the lamppost it looked to them like a “pillar of iron with a lantern set on the top.” As they investigated the unfamiliar sight they entered the woods where the lamppost stood. Almost immediately they no longer felt the scratching of tree branches, but rather the fabric of coats. Within a few steps they had tumbled out of a wardrobe and back into an empty room.

Back in England, it was the same day as when the Wardrobe had first led them to Narnia. Only minutes had passed. They were no longer Kings and Queens. They were children again.

Trying to explain why some coats were missing from the wardrobe, the children told the Professor (their caretaker and the owner of the wardrobe) about their adventure. He did not scoff or rebuke them, but believed the whole story. And then he spoke these words to them:

“I don’t think it will be any good trying to go back through the wardrobe door to get the coats. You won’t get into Narnia again by that route . . . of course, you will get back to Narnia someday. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don’t try to get there at all. It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it.”
Don’t miss the treasures of this Christmas Eve by trying to re-create a Christmas from another time. Almost all of us can look back on a Christmas that was just right – or at least it seems that way to us now. Maybe we look back on years when death had not yet touched the family, the children and grandchildren were much smaller, the money was more abundant, the relatives were not too far away.

Things might be different now. By comparison, this Christmas doesn’t measure up.

Perhaps what C. S. Lewis wrote about getting back to Narnia is also true of finding the joy of Christmas. The same route that worked back then will not get you there now. Maybe we observe a true Christmas not by recapturing what was, but by embracing the presence of God with us in the life we have right now. Indeed, the treasures of Christmas may come to us unplanned and unannounced. Like finding Narnia again, it happens when you aren’t looking for it.

There are signs of God’s grace all around you on this Christmas Eve. God is with us. That’s the good news of this season. In the words of C. S. Lewis as spoken by a wise Professor, “Keep your eyes open.”

Gracious God, on this Christmas Eve help us to keep our eyes open for signs of your grace that surround us in the life we have right now. Guard us from finding the joy of Christmas only in our memory. Reveal your presence to us today, and in doing so draw us close to you in a fresh way this Christmas. We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus. Amen.

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