This Christmas Eve please humor me and take a moment to read this Santa story that isn't really about Santa at all. If you are like me, even though I'm supposed to be a grown-up, you are waiting in anticipation for Christmas morning, gift giving, breakfast, time spent with family...tonight sometimes feels like it is all about Santa. But even now, it's not really about Santa at all.
This is from C.S. Lewis's "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are siblings who walked through a magic wardrobe and found themselves in a strange land where animals talk, unique creatures live, and by the power of an evil White Witch it is forever winter: but never Christmas. They are learning all about this mysterious land from Mr. and Mrs. Beaver who are escorting them on a long journey to meet with Aslan: the lion they've never met but the mention of his name gives them a "strange feeling--like the first signs of spring, like good news, had come over them."
From Chapter 10: The Spell Begins to Break
"[Lucy] was very wide awake indeed, and so was everyone else. In fact they were all sitting up with their mouths and eyes wide open listening to a sound which was the very sound they'd all been thinking of (and sometimes imagining they heard) during their walk last night. It was a sound of jingling bells.
"Mr. Beaver was out of the cave like a flash the moment he heard it. Perhaps you think, as Lucy thought for a moment, that this was a very silly thing to do? But it was really a very sensible one. He knew he could scramble to the top of the bank among bushes and brambles without being seen; and he wanted above all things to see which way the Witch's sledge went. The others all sat in the cave waiting and wondering. They waited nearly five minutes. Then they heard something that frightened them very much. They heard voices. "Oh," thought Lucy, "he's been seen. She's caught him!" Great was their surprise when a little later, they heard Mr. Beaver's voice calling to them from just outside the cave.
"'It's all right,' he was shouting. "Come out, Mrs. Beaver. Come out, Sons and Daughters of Adam. It's all right! It isn't Her!"This was bad grammar of course, but that is how beavers talk when they are excited; I mean, in Narnia--in our world they usually don't talk at all.
"So Mrs. Beaver and the children came bundling out of the cave, all blinking in the daylight, and with earth all over them, and looking very frowsty and unbrushed and uncombed and with the sleep in their eyes.
"'Come on!' cried Mr. Beaver, who was almost dancing with delight. 'Come and see! This is a nasty knock for the Witch! It looks as if her power is already crumbling.'
'What do you mean, Mr. Beaver?' panted Peter as they all scrambled up the steep bank of the valley together.
'Didn't I tell you,' answered Mr. Beaver, 'that she'd made it always winter and never Christmas? Didn't I tell you? Well, just come and see!'
"And then they were all at the top and did see.
It was a sledge, and it was reindeer with bells on their harness. But they were far bigger than the Witch's reindeer, and they were not white but brown. And on the sledge sat a person whom everyone knew the moment they set eyes on him. He was a huge man in a bright red robe (bright as hollyberries) with a hood that had fur inside it and a great white beard that fell like a foamy waterfall over his chest. Everyone knew him because, though you see people of his sort only in Narnia, you see pictures of them and hear them talked about even in our world--the world on this side of the wardrobe door. But when you really see them in Narnia it is rather different. Some of the pictures of Father Christmas in our world make him look only funny and jolly. But now that the children actually stood looking at him they didn't find it quite like that. He was so big, and so glad, and so real, that they all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.
"'I've come at last,' said he. 'She has kept me out for a long time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is on the move. The Witch's magic is weakening.'
"And Lucy felt running through her that deep shiver of gladness which you only get if you are being solemn and still.
"'And now,' said Father Christmas, 'for your presents...'
"---he suddenly looked less grave---'here is something for the moment for you all!' and he brought out (I suppose from a big bag at his back, but nobody quite saw him do it) a large tray containing five cups and saucers, a bowl of lump sugar, a jug of cream and a great teapot all sizzling and piping hot.
"Then he cried out 'Merry Christmas! Long live the true King!' and cracked his whip, and he and the reindeer and the sledge and all were out of sight before anyone realized that they had started."
At Christmastime we celebrate that we live in a moment in time that while we still experience pain, war, and fear, JOY is already here. Joy is ours. The big and real moments we spend with loved ones, the heart of gift-giving, the satisfaction of the nature around us...these are all things to celebrate. We celebrate the day-to-day happiness that comes our way...but more than that we celebrate that one day in all of human history that God placed unearthly joy in our midst: Jesus Christ.
Aslan is on the move.
Jesus moved, is moving, and will forever move on our behalf.
Merry Christmas! Long live the true King!