This Christmas season, you will not want to miss the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ movie ‘Voyage of the Dawntreader. Since C. S. Lewis wrote it in 1950, tens of millions of copies of the book in over thirty languages have been sold.
At the heart of Narnia’s first book ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’ is the abolition of Christmas by the White Witch where it is always winter and never Christmas. C.S. Lewis’ alternate title for his book was ‘The Hundred Year Winter’. Not once in the past hundred years of Narnia was Christmas ever celebrated.
The White Witch, whose real name is Jadis, punished anyone who wanted the restoration of Christmas, by turning them into stone. The White Witch’s most memorable feature was her skin, as white as chalk, or paper, or snow. CS Lewis explains in the Narnia book ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ that the White Witch’s skin was made that way by eating an apple from the Emperor’s Garden at the beginning of Narnia.
In the midst of this bone-chilling winter, we are told about an ancient prophecy stating that when two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve filled the four thrones as Kings and Queens of Narnia, the tyranny of the White Witch and her hundred-year winter would end. We are also told that one day the great Lion Aslan will triumphantly return to Narnia: “Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight, At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more, When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death, And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.” CS Lewis called Aslan a ‘supposal’ of what might have happened if Christ had come to a world of talking animals and become one of them.
With the remarkable success of the ‘Passion of the Christ’ Movie and Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy, many have become more open to spiritually-oriented movies like Voyage of the Dawntreader. Many ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Narnia’ buffs may not be aware that it was JRR Tolkien who helped lead his atheist friend CS Lewis to faith in the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).
While teaching at Oxford College, Lewis formed a lasting friendship with JRR Tolkien. Lewis said to Tolkien that tales or myths are ‘lies and therefore worthless, even though breathed through silver’. ‘No’, said Tolkien, ‘they are not lies’. Tolkien went on to explain to Lewis that in Jesus Christ, the ancient stories or myths of a dying and rising God entered history and became fact.
Twelve days later, Lewis wrote to another friend Arthur Greeves: “I have just passed on from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ – in Christianity. I will try to explain this another time. My long night talk with Dyson and Tolkien had a good deal to do with it”. CS Lewis recalls going by motorcycle with his brother Warren to Whipsnade Zoo, about thirty miles east of Oxford. “When we set out, I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo, I did”. In his autobiography Surprised by Joy, Lewis commented: “In the Trinity term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God…perhaps the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England”.
This Christmas season, as you take your family and friends to see the Voyage of the Dawntreader, I invite you to discover with CS Lewis that Aslan is the Reason for the Season.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector
BSW, MDiv, DMin
-previously published in the North Shore News
-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada
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