by Rob Furlong
In C. S. Lewis’ wonderful book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Mr. Tumnus tries to describe to Lucy how dreadful life has become because of the reign of the White Witch over Narnia.
“It’s she that makes it always winter. Always winter and never Christmas; think of that!”
Under the iron fist of the White Witch, life in Narnia is devoid of love, hope and real joy.
Over the past 18 months, much has been said and written about the deep loss of hope and joy people are experiencing.
All around us, anxiety, mental stress, and fear reign supreme and as Mr. Tumnus said, “It’s always winter and never Christmas!” (I know many of you reading this live in the Southern Hemisphere where Christmas occurs in summer, but I’m sure you understand the point being made!)
People long deeply for peace of mind, fulfillment, and joy.
We make movies about this longing. Who can forget that marvellous scene at the conclusion of Its a Wonderful Life where Jimmy Stewart races through the streets of the small town he has spent his entire life in, trying to get away from it but never succeeding and after flirting with suicide realises that home is precisely where he wants to be?
We watch him toss snow in the air joyfully, yell greetings to people he doesn’t know and then charge into his home to be met by his wife, children and a houseful of friends who are all there to celebrate and help him out.
It’s a glorious moment, and we revel in it because deep down inside us there is something telling us this is how life should be – there is a place waiting for us where we will be welcomed with open arms and where we experience love, joy, and peace.
The world at the time when Jesus was born was very similar to our world today. People were imprisoned by despair and a lack of joy, so much so that Epictetus, the first century philosopher wrote at the time:
“While the emperor may give peace from war, he is unable to give peace from passion, grief and envy. He cannot give peace of heart, for which man yearns more than even for outward peace.”
Into that world was born Jesus; born to fulfill God’s purpose for every person on the planet: “That they may have life and have it to the full.”
Every Christmas offers us the opportunity to celebrate the richness and wonder of love, joy, and hope. It is a time when we can look back on the year that has gone, to grieve the losses and celebrate the wins, to give thanks for the many blessings we have received and to draw comfort, security and love from the people God has placed in our lives.
Most of all, it is a time to rejoice in the birth of God’s Son, Jesus, the greatest gift of all and the ultimate Source of all love, joy, and hope.
Christmas is a time when we can renew hope.
For many, it’s a time of sadness and loneliness, a time when they are acutely reminded that while others celebrate, they can only grieve. Jesus came for such people — “to release the captives … and to set free those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)
The Christmas story brims with hope!
The birth of Jesus is first celebrated by shepherds, outcasts in a society that regarded them as less than trustworthy but whom God considered the ideal people to reveal the birth of His Son to because they were representative of those He came to rescue – people who were longing for hope.
The great news of Christmas is that your soul does not have to live in a permanent state of winter! When you invite Jesus in, He not only brings Christmas, but summer as well.