Christmas is War
Written by Young Adult Staff Minister Brandon Steenbock
In a world that’s always winter and never Christmas, the appearance of Father Christmas is a violent intrusion, a declaration of war, and a reason for hope. If you read C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia in the only correct order, starting with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, your first introduction to the world of Narnia is to learn that it is a world covered in an unending winter. But, as the faun Mr. Tumnus explains to Lucy, a girl from our world, the witch who has cursed Narnia has made it always winter and never Christmas.
How devastating to a young girl like Lucy, or anyone for that matter, to imagine a never ending winter that doesn’t have things like cookies and presents and lights and joy and hope. But we soon find out, along with Lucy, that part of her purpose in Narnia is to break the curse, to restore hope and joy, and put an end to Narnia’s long winter.
One of the first signs that the curse is ending is when Lucy – and her brother Peter and sister Susan – meet a figure both familiar and unbelievable. Father Christmas shows up, and as Father Christmas must, he comes bearing gifts. But the gifts he brings are just as unexpected as his presence. To Peter he gives a sword and shield, to Susan a bow and a horn, and to Lucy a dagger and a cordial of healing tonic. Odd gifts for children, but good gifts for fighting a war.
But this moment in the story is telling us something about Christmas that we otherwise might have missed – that Christmas is war. Christmas is waging war against the darkness. When we proclaim peace on earth and goodwill to men, when we sing of joy in the Savior, when we hold out the light of love and faith, we are making a declaration of war against the hatred, cynicism, perversion and hopelessness of this fallen world. Every song sung on Christmas Eve is a defiant cry in the face of evil, and every candle lit on Christmas Night pushes back at the encroaching dark.
Father Christmas gave very appropriate gifts for curse breakers. Our Father has given us appropriate gifts as well. We have the Curse Breaker himself, Jesus, our Savior. We have the sword of his Spirit, the Word of God, in our hands. We have the healing tonic of Jesus’ blood. So fight on this Christmas. Wage war in the name of Jesus. And do so with the triumph song of the Savior on his lips. The curse is broken. Jesus is on the move. Spring is coming. Merry Christmas.