In the first installment of CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, one of the creatures suffering from the grip of forever winter from the witch who rules Narnia bemoans their reality, “It is always winter and never Christmas” here.
First of all the quote is dead-on. One might think, “It is always winter and never spring,” would be better. Spring ends winter! Ending winter is better than something nice, a small reprieve from the depths of winter, right?
Read the children’s book. It is literate, wonderful fun, and should be read to someone before his or her bedtime. Spoiler Alert. In the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when Father Christmas finally does come, spring and even more hope than that (Aslan is returning!) are on the way.
Christmas comes in the shortest days, in the coldest months, ushering in a much deeper hope than warmer weather. Christmas was when all of Heaven held its breath for the tiny child who must grow to die for our sins, and then return from the dead to certify what God was saying through Him.
Always winter with no Christmas hope in the middle of it — bleak indeed. I know no place where I desperately need hope than in the middle of life’s numbing cold or seemingly eternaly darkness.
Which is why I ‘enjoyed’ Jon Wiese’s funeral this past Saturday. I witnessed hundreds of people from both coasts and many states inbetween. Past students had to be there in thanks for Jon’s investment in them. His son and brother spoke for him, and cracked us up and made us cry.
All on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, when we hold our breath after thanking God for dying for us in Christ, and waiting for Sunday morning, when we celebrate Christ’s rebirth from the dead.
We live a lot of live on Saturday. On Friday we trust that Christ wasn’t lying when He said He was God’s Son of Man or that he really forgave the people (me) for crucifying Him. We thank God for dying for our sins, giving us a second chance, and extending us a love that is stronger than death.
On Sunday, we pass from this world into the next, finally praying the Paul prayer, “I want to know You (God, Jesus) in the power of Your resurrection.” That Sunday is when we finally, absolutely know.
Until then, we spend a lot of Saturday(s) “in-between”. We are in-between the great change that happened in us on Friday wherever we were, while we are not yet in that final, radical moment of dying and being translated into God’s presence.
Saturday. So now see Lewis’ metaphor another way. Alwalys winter and never Christmas is the same thing as always Saturday, with no hope from Good Friday in my life, ambushing my pity parties, stopping my cratering, or vanquishing my depression. Think about it. When the first cool winds come, even before a tree has changed one leaf, children begin to look forward to — ta-da — Christmas.
So is my hope on the long Saturday of my life, or sitting in the funeral for a great guy like Jon. So is my hope every time a close friend passes through to Easter for himself or herself.
So is my hope for you.