It bears repeating: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance, the only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” Thus wrote C.S. Lewis.
I am in the process of reading through the works of Lewis again. I have read Lewis for years, but the older I get, the more I see how prescient he was. And there remain a few of his pieces I have never read. There are many books by C.S. Lewis that merit multiple readings. They are packed with wisdom.
We are of course amidst the holidays (holy + days, originally). But it’s by and large hard to tell, at least in many places. Oh, commercialism is nothing new. Stuff, stuff, and more stuff. It’s good for the economy but can be perilous for the soul.
Remember who said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:18-21)
Christ was teaching via parable. And who was the protagonist in the parable? The fool. The fool trusted in the gifts in life; he did not trust in the Giver. A huge difference. And a costly one. Jesus was teaching those with ears to hear the truth that our days are numbered, and that how we steward our resources reveals our hearts.
I cannot break myself of the habit of reading bumper stickers. One said, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” How sad. Beyond sad. Pitiable and pathetic. But that’s secularism’s toilet. Get all you can. Get stuff and then . . . well, then, it goes to another. And the cycle continues.
Lewis, reflecting the Christian worldview, understood the folly of secularism. He abandoned that worldview for Christ and the gospel of redemption. Lewis recognized that secularism (this world-ism, if you will) will leave you empty. Because it is, in the secularist’s own terms, all there is. Just stuff. You are just stuff; others are just stuff; and you’ve no reason to think you are special if you are, in fact, just stuff. No transcendent meaning; no loving sovereign Creator; just matter that does not matter.
Lewis saw the folly of secularism. He was gripped by God’s gospel. And it completely reoriented his thinking and his behavior.
Does life consist in merely eating, drinking, and being merry? Is that it? Not for the wise. But for the foolish, yes. Epicureanism suffices … for a while.
But wise men and women, unlike the fools, recognize that Jesus Christ was and is the fulfillment of God’s covenantal promises. “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
I’m almost through all of Lewis’ books in the series The Chronicles of Narnia again. They are magnificent. In reading them again after many years, I appreciate the stories still more. You see characters like Edmund, Lucy, Peter, and Susan. And of course, Aslan. The siblings depict us as we are, not as we pretend to be. And Aslan; yes, Aslan. Silent, suffering, compassionate, patient, conquering Aslan.
You see fools, too, many of whom eat, drink, and make merry—but out of a sense of defeat because they are fools.
But there are some, it is beautiful to see, who see. They see Narnia is magically real. They see the world is shot through with glory. Why? Because it was designed by the One whose power and wisdom are infinite.
Narnia is not, therefore, insignificant or unimportant. It is, on the contrary, crucial to see and appreciate rightly. Because Christianity, since true, matters eternally. Fools may mock it but Christ is nevertheless risen indeed. And believers across history still sing, Hallelujah. Merry Christmas.