Of Narnia and Christmas Wonder

One of my all-time favorite stories is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. When I was little, my mom would read the book aloud to me, and my Grammy even gave me and my cousins faux fur coats so we could pretend we had discovered Narnia, just like the Pevensie siblings. I was always Lucy.

When the movie was released in 2005, I was in seventh grade and had worried my little Lucy heart to death for fear of the movie ruining everything forever. But it didn’t disappoint; I had a new favorite film.

There’s a scene that creates a feeling, almost deep in my soul, that I have trouble describing: After stepping into the wardrobe in the spare room of the professor’s house, Lucy stumbles past the fur coats, and her hand brushes against an evergreen branch covered with snow. She turns around to see a snowy wood. She walks further in, drinking deeply of the stunning scene surrounding her, and as the snow continues to fall, she comes to find a lamp post. (You can watch the clip at the end of this post.)

That’s the moment when my heart leaps. As Lucy touches that lamp post, a sense of absolute wonder, enchantment, and anticipation captures my heart. It’s an enchanting feeling that lingers for a second and then leaves my heart longing for more.

Maybe it’s childhood nostalgia. Maybe it’s my dreamy love for snow. Yet I can’t help but think this feeling whispers of something more—the sense that something spectacularly glorious is to come.

It’s the same feeling that stirs in my heart as Christmas approaches each year. Anticipation, wonder, excitement . . . something good is coming. Don’t you feel it, too?

Made to Wonder

Don’t we all, especially at Christmas, desire to believe in something spectacular, something that awakens our childlike imagination? We want to see something that seems impossible actually come to life right before our eyes.

It’s why we love to watch movies like The Polar Express and The Santa Clause—a sense of excitement is stirred up within us, and we’re left wishing something so fantastical could be true.

This desire to believe in something points to a big truth about the way we’ve been created: We were made to wonder.

This desire to believe in something points to a big truth about the way we’ve been created: We were made to wonder.

God is the One who has given us the capacity to marvel and get butterflies in our stomachs when we’re filled with anticipation. He’s divinely made us to wonder at the Wonderful. He’s created us to worship Him in awe (Ps. 139:4–6; 14).

At Christmas, though, we often miss the mark, taking this capacity for wonder to one of two extremes:

Either we chase our desire for wonder down a path that won’t satisfy.

We love the idea of the wonder of Christmas, but we attempt to create our own spectacular somethings by embracing the warm and the fuzzy. We get completely lost in jingle bells, classic movies, red coffee cups, and sugar cookie sprinkles, and forget there’s something real and eternal to grab onto. We boil down the grand wonder of Christmas into temporary pleasures.

Or we actually try to suppress the sense of wonder.

In an attempt not to get caught up in the “hype” of Christmas, we tell ourselves that any childlike excitement is wrong to embrace. Focus on the true meaning of Christmas, we say. As you force yourself into a solemn focus, are you actually left feeling . . . disappointed? Because that inner yearning and gnawing sense of wonder wants to break out in exuberant song?

I love the way David Mathis explains this idea here:

Few things are more tragic than taking Christmas in stride. Its spirit and magic, that alluring sense of supernatural goodness, are not just for children, but even for the grownups. Especially for the grownups. God forbid that we ever get used to Christmas (emphasis mine).

Something Good Is Coming

In the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Lewis beautifully describes what happens when Beaver tells the Pevensie children that Aslan is on the move: A unique feeling captures each child at the mention of the great lion’s name.

The moment Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning—either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into the dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside.

Aslan, king of beasts, represents Jesus Christ, King of Kings. This account of the Pevensie’s excitement and wonder for a lion they had never even seen before makes me wonder what it was like when the angels appeared before the shepherds tending to their flocks (Luke 2:8–20). They were so filled with wonder that they immediately left to adore the spectacular One who had come—the Messiah.

It’s right in the good news of the gospel that we discover the glorious wonder for which our hearts crave.

Hundreds of years after the prophecy of child being born in Bethlehem (Isa. 7:14, 9:6–7), God was “on the move.” He sent a Savior, a heavenly King in human flesh, born to an unassuming couple who took the one place that was available to them as a birthing room, an animal-filled stable (Luke 2:1–7). Can you imagine?

A holy, God-sent Savior had come. The wonder of it all!

It’s right in the good news of the gospel that we discover the glorious wonder for which our hearts crave. Something spectacular and seemingly impossible has come to life right before our eyes.

God became a man, lived a perfectly sinless life, and died on your behalf, on mine. Then He rose again three days later, defeating sin and death, and carved a path for you and me to be reconciled to God forever.

I never, ever want to stop being enchanted by the wonder of the gospel. Praise the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world!

But the wonder doesn’t end there. Something good is still coming.

In Revelation 22:20, Jesus Christ says, “Surely I am coming soon.” The anticipation!

I never, ever want to stop being enchanted by the wonder of the gospel.

As we celebrate Christ’s first advent, His birth in that little town of Bethlehem, we truly can be enchanted with childlike wonder for what He has done for us.

And as we anticipate His second advent when He returns to take us Home with Him forever, may we be filled with anticipation for all He will do.

Lord, fill us with wonder for You. Make us like the shepherds, who, filled with anticipation, hurried to see the newborn King. Stir our hearts to come and adore you this season.

May we look to Christ with Lucy-like wonder this Christmas.

About Author

Samantha loves lazy lake days, strong coffee, and writing about the ways Jesus transforms our everyday messes into beautiful stories. She digs the four seasons in northern Indiana, is probably wearing a Notre Dame crew neck, and serves as the social media manager on the Revive Our Hearts staff.

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