Did you ever read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe as a kid? My auntie bought the series for me at a tag sale and I read them so many times they are written on the tablet of my heart. The ideas in the books created paths for my mind to follow when thinking about the Gospel.
All of this waiting and longing is like Narnia’s long winter brought on by the White Witch:
“Why, it is she that has got all Narnia under her thumb. It’s she that makes it always winter. Always winter and never Christmas, think of that!”
“How awful!” said Lucy.
It sometimes feels like we will be cold and suffering forever, without any hope of a release from evil and death.
Well, it’s finally Christmas!
The answer to our long winter of sin and hopelessness was a baby born to a virgin in a stable (Matthew 1:23).
After thousands of years of longing, in the most unlikely and personal way, God “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13,14).
We were stone dead in our sins, “But God, being rich in mercy… even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us ALIVE together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4).
Hang the garlands and sing the carols because we are saved! We were dead, but Christ gives us life!
Ephesians 2:8 says this life comes by grace through faith. But this “by grace through faith” business is a difficult idea for me to understand. I like to see a reward earned for a hard day’s work: a hearty supper for the men and the horses after ploughing the field. I like to do a great job and get what is rightfully mine, using my own power to get what I think I deserve.
But I forget that what I deserve is death.
I need to repent not only of my sins, but also of my paltry attempts at righteousness. The times I read books to my children, the meals I prepare for my husband, the kindness I extend to strangers— none of this is good enough to satisfy the debt that I owe for my sin. Only Christ was good enough.
This is the delicate beauty of “by grace through faith” — I don’t earn it, because I can’t. I couldn’t, but Christ did! Ring the bells of Christmas because our rightful winter is over, and our undeserved and blessed Christ is here!
I still remember the magic of reading these lines as a child:
“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.”
But there is an even greater and truer magic:
When you were dead in your transgressions…
He made you alive together with Him,
having forgiven us all our transgressions.
- Colossians 2:13