News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Rev. Kelly Clem

The wonder and mystery of ‘Narnia’

Today C.S. Lewis' classic tale "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" arrives in theaters everywhere. Sure, maybe it's a children's movie, but I think it's one we grownup children will want to see.

At Christmas time each year, we re-enter the epic drama. This little child, God in human form, draws us to adore. It is one thing to adore a child, but to adore a child who is God is a truth not easily grasped.

I have often wondered: Is the Christmas story for children or adults?

Last week at a Hispanic worship service held at my church, Hopesprings, as the adults were busily preparing for worship, a 5-year-old found her way to the nursery and cradled a doll. Did anyone notice that she, too, was preparing for worship? Jesus said that unless we become like children, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.

A baby, yet God — the paradox becomes more apparent as we delve into the story of Jesus.

Why did God appoint such an unlikely couple as Mary and Joseph to receive his son into the world? What kind of man would love so much that he willingly surrendered his life and forgave as he suffered on a cross? When his message was all about love, why did so many people want Jesus destroyed? We are left to wonder if anyone can truly claim to do more than simply cradle the paradox of this epic story of the Christian faith.

Not an allegory

C.S. Lewis said he did not write his books as an allegory, but rather as "a supposal of how it might have gone if Christ had come to a world of talking animals and become one of them." In "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" a lion named Aslan brings Christmas to the land of Narnia. The snow melts, the sun shines, and evil is defeated.

Thanks to the masterful storytelling of a genius and a deeply devoted Christian man, and the magic of Disney, the epic drama of Jesus is told in a way that even children can approach the great mystery. The battle between good and evil ends in great rejoicing. Aslan loves the boy Edmund so much that gave his life so the child could be free. Children can be drawn to the concept of sacrificial love.

God is love

The love we witness in Christ draws forth love from us. 1 John 4:7-8 says, "He who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love."

When my first child was dying, I knew that if I had a choice, I would have been willing to take her place. That was nothing more than love.

This season, may you open your eyes to the story of the birth of hope into our world. I hope that we all can learn to watch for the unfolding drama through the eyes of a child.

The Rev. Kelly Clem, pastor of Hopesprings United Methodist Church, is one of several local ministers writing religion columns for THE DAILY.

For more information, call Melanie Smith on Tuesdays or Wednesdays at 340-2468.

Rev. Kelly Clem Rev. Kelly Clem

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