Last night C.S. Lewis' stellar tale The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, in his epic series, The Chronicles of Narnia, debuted on the big screen. I have not yet seen it but intend to do so. Lewis is best known for this work of fantasy and profound analogy, but for many Christians he is one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century. His works, especially Mere Christianity, are, or at least should be, required reading for seminarians. Many young theologians in undergraduate school "cut their teeth" on his theological reflection.
As a young man, Lewis was an atheist, but became a Christian when he came to the conviction that Christianity made intellectual sense. Once converted, he wrote as a staunch defender of the faith. He was unapologetically christological and would never allow the watering down of the person and work of Jesus into something compatible with the shallowness of modern sensibilities. In Mere Christianity, Lewis states the following:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus]: �I�m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don�t accept His claim to be God.� That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic�on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg�or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
In this holy season, Lewis will not let us get away with a celebration of Christmas that is anything less than a profound submission to Jesus Christ as Lord, the center of our human existence, and the Savior of the entire world. We may decorate our house, the yard, put Christmas trees in every room of the house, we may spend December 25th with family and friends; we may stubbornly refer to "Christmas trees" instead of "Holiday Trees," we may wish people a "Merry Christmas," instead of "Happy Holidays," and we may sing the real words of "Silent Night, Holy Night," instead of the nonsense school children are required to sing in Plano, Texas, "Winter Night, Cold Night," but unless Jesus the incarnate God is at the center of our celebration and our life, unless December 25th is truly a Christ-mas, a Christ celebration, than Christmas will be nothing other than an irrelevant "holiday."
Jesus is not merely a good teacher with some nice things to say, he is not only a wise sage with words to help us make it through the day. Jesus is the Lord of the Universe, he is Emmanuel, God with Us, and he will not be domesticated into our own myopic vision of a Savior who saves us, but does not call us to transformation other than to be nice to those around us.
And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
Jesus has been born in Bethlehem, the Stone Table has been broken, and Christ lives again!
Thanks be to God!