Thursday, 22 December 2016


‘Perhaps something hot to drink?’ said the Queen.  ‘Should you like that?’  ‘Yes, please, your majesty,’ said Edward, whose teeth were chattering.  The Queen took from somewhere among her wrappings which looked as if it were made of copper.  Then, holding out her arm, she let one drop fall from it on the snow beside the sledge.  Edmund saw the drop for a second in mid-air, shining like a diamond.  But the moment it touched the snow there was a hissing sound and there stood a jewelled cup full of something that steamed.  The dwarf immediately took this and handed it to Edmund with a bow and smile; not a very nice smile.  Edmund felt much better as he began to sip the hot drink.  It was something he had never tasted before, very sweet and foamy and creamy, and it warmed him right down to his toes.

That comes, as some of you will know, from C. S. Lewis’s “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”, the book behind “The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”.  The action of Edmund, cold as he was, was surprising, as anyone who knows the story will say.  The queen is a baddie – and we would not expect Edmund to accept gifts from her.  So why did he?  Was it not obvious to him that she was not trustworthy?  Was he perhaps deluded by the air of ‘magic and sparkle’ that surrounded her?  Was he miffed at not feeling special – and being the left-out one of the four children of the story?  Peter and Susan were older than him.  Lucy was younger, but he had teased her about her adventure in Narnia through the wardrobe – and now he was discovering she had been right all along.  Did he just want to grab whatever piece of the action he could?

I love Christmas.  I love the food, the presents, the decorations, the excitement – and I don’t want to be disillusioned and, on the whole, I’m not.  But Christmas does raise those questions for us all.  It is about getting – after all, it’s the story of a great gift by God.  But it’s also about giving.  And who’s being left out – and we need to see they are not.  We are all special.  That’s an important part of the story.  But another important part is that we all make mistakes.

In the book Narnia is a place where it is always winter, but never Christmas.  How would it feel to be always waiting for Christmas, but it never arrives?

Later on, when the three children, Peter, Susan and Lucy, are with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver this happens:

‘And now,’ said Father Christmas, ‘for your presents.  There is a new and better sewing machine for you, Mrs. Beaver.  I will drop it in your house as I pass. ….  As for you, Mr. Beaver, when you get home you will find your dam finished and mended and all the leaks stopped and a new sluice-gate fitted.’  And the children, too, each receive a present, presents that they are going to need for the tasks that lie ahead of them.  As Father Christmas says to Lucy, giving her a little bottle of cordial, ‘If you or any of your friends is hurt, a few drops of this will restore them.’ 

We live in a world that needs many gifts of love and prayer.  Is not the Christmas message that we should give as many of those gifts as we can?  With God’s help, may we, who are precious to God, give of our precious abilities and resources to others, who are, yes, whoever they are, equally precious to God.

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