The best and the worst in human nature
Canon Mair Talbot
, manager of Norwich's Magdalene Project
takes a look at the real meaning of Christmas and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
”All the animals went in fear of the witch. She would go to any lengths of cruelty and deception to ensure that her power over them was never broken.
“Some animals avoided her at all costs: they had seen too many of their friends turned to stone by the witch's frozen stare. Others sought to flatter her in the hope of being in her good books. The cold climate of terror meant that nobody trusted anybody. None of them were happy. The icy wind was as cold as the witch who ruled over Narnia. By her decree, it was always winter but never Christmas.”
I have always thought that image from C. S. Lewis' children's story, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a brilliant depiction of the worst in human nature, and of what happens when it is given the chance to flourish.
Despite their potential for good, human beings have a way of creating misery around them. When legions of very rich bankers put their bonuses above the jobs, homes and pensions of ordinary people, to say nothing of the security of the world's financial system, the landscape looks bleak and wintry as we contemplate the moral bankruptcy of human nature.
Why should C. S. Lewis have used Christmas as an illustration of warmth in the midst of coldness? A man who lived as simply as Lewis and his brother Warnie, in an unheated house, can hardly have had our commercial Christmases in mind.
Christmas is traditionally the season of goodwill. Think of the song of the angels on the first Christmas night: "Peace on earth and goodwill amongst all people, with whom God is well pleased!"
The country was occupied by the Roman army. Herod was the King. The chances of peace and goodwill did not look good. What a cold, unwelcoming place for the Son of God to be born! But it was Christmas. God had not given up on his world. He had come into it himself to deal with the evil in human hearts that turns some people into tyrants and others into their lackeys.
What is the answer to the evil in human nature that tears this world apart? God went to the heart of the matter, for it is human hearts that have to change and only he can change them.
The baby in the manger was the Saviour of the human race, the one who brought God into our midst and forgave human sin by dying on the cross. His love can melt even the stoniest hearts.
A thaw set in at the end of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, when Aslan the Lion intervened. The witch was terrified for she knew that her power had been broken. The sun rose and there was peace.
Wishing you a joyful Christmas.