In CS Lewis’ magical land of Narnia, the White Witch held a spell over the entire realm making it always winter and never Christmas. This endless cold and everlasting snow brought fear and lifelessness among the inhabitants of Narnia. This imagery was obviously supposed to invoke dread to its readers, but little did Lewis know of the winters in the subtropics of Florida. A break from the heat resulting in an eternal winter may often sound like utopia for those of us sweltering in the most humid of the United States. It might be possible that the White Witch wasn’t truly a villain after all…maybe she was raised in Florida and thought she was doing the dwarves, beavers, and children of Narnia a favor by eliminating global warning.
All kidding aside, those who do survive the seemingly eternal summer in Florida and the one or two weeks of fall are rewarded in full with the pleasant climate of winter. For a few months, Florida is transformed into one of the most comfortable and beautiful places on the planet. Temperatures rarely drop below 55 and never reach much higher than 80. The outdoors become alive with walkers, runners, and bikers. Children turn off the TV for much more exciting pursuits in the backyard. The exhilaration of cooler air inspires forts to be built, trees to be climbed, and good ole fashioned games of hide and seek to be played. Even the adults become like children anew. Rusty golf clubs are unearthed from dark closets, overriding the pains of even rustier backs, to the joys of fresh cut grass and renewed friendships.
Ironically, in the midst of all this great weather and beauty, for many Christmas can be the most difficult season of the year. I’m not sure what it is…maybe it’s the end of the year that makes us reflect and be disappointed, or maybe it’s celebrating Christmas without those we cherished so dearly. Whatever the reason, let us not forget that it was for the least, the last, and the lowly that Christ came and gave hope.
Going back to C.S. Lewis, the reason Narnia was such a dreadful place wasn’t because of the weather, it was because Aslan hadn’t come. It wasn’t for those who hope only in this world that Christ came; it was for those who have no hope in either themselves or in the world’s prospects. He came for those struggling with addiction, divorce, joblessness, personality defects, the ignorant, those with sickness. This is the season of hope, not because of the presents, the weather, or even family – it is the season of hope because the God of the universe decided to reveal himself and to save those who have none.
My favorite Christmas Carol is “O’ Holy Night”.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn’
Fall on your knees, O hear the angels’ voices
O night divine, O night when Christ was born.
Are you weary, are you heavy laden this Christmas? Then fall on your knees, have hope, and remember Christ…it was for you he was born on that “Holy Night”!
Bill Riley teaches secondary math at Lakeland Christian School. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.