C.S. Lewis was a 20th-century professor famous for his Christian apologetics.
He held positions at Cambridge and Oxford universities in England. Not in apologetics, but rather the study and teaching of English literature. While he led an amazing literary life, he’s not predominantly famous for his university teaching.
His fame came from the outstanding writings and lectures he gave aside from the university domain. He was a prodigious writer of wonderful Christian books, the most famous being “Mere Christianity;” and his series of books for children, called “The Chronicles of Narnia,” have great appeal for most adults, as well as children. They are extraordinary works, filled with adventure and tales of a make-believe land called Narnia.
It’s in the story of Narnia that four children learn the joys and true meaning of Christmas. Coincidentally, it could be said that the story of Narnia is a story about the war on Christmas.
Here’s a primer for those who don’t know the Narnia story. Four English children (siblings) are magically swept into a land called Narnia, where they find a strange country with inhabitants that are cold, miserable, paranoid, and downright fearful of their condition. The inhabitants of this fairy-tale land are talking animals and mythical creatures, but bear with me here, please.
When the children arrive, it’s a cold, snowy, and inhospitable place. There, a family of talking beavers who, although unsure of who the children are, take them in. The beavers proceed to give them food and shelter, and tell them what has happened to their once-fair country: a beautiful place that was taken over by the White Witch.
The beaver family tells them about the spell Narnia is under: It’s “always winter, and never Christmas.” Narnia has been in winter for a hundred years since the White Witch cast her spell. It’s gray, cold, and lifeless, with no hope for spring or summer. The witch’s winter reign is marked by cruelty, turning the Narnians into a squalid bunch. Trust for one another is gone; there is little hope for the future.
Always winter. Never Christmas.
It’s a wonderful phrase describing what we may know as the war on Christmas, not unlike the Dr. Seuss story of “The Grinch That Stole Christmas,” except the Grinch would have stolen Christmas for a hundred years. No singing, no presents, no fun nor feasting in Whoville, just an unpleasant winter that dragged on forever. That’s the scene the children are presented with through those they meet in Narnia. Life is cut short and has little to offer.
A Spiritual War
Let me digress. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ, of new beginnings. It’s a time for families to gather, for gifts to be exchanged, for hearts to pledge anew their faith in God, appreciating His gifts to us, particularly the freedom given in Christ. Christmas is about hope, faith, and love. The high virtues of God, without which there is no great culture or civilization; without which there is the enslavement of the body, mind, and soul; and without which our lives would be shallow, nasty, short, and brutish.
This is why we must fight those who have declared war on Christmas. A war has been going on longer than the current battle with our contemporary Grinches—those who don’t want to mention the name or meaning of the holiday we celebrate. What Lewis is sharing with his readers is the long-term spiritual battle between those who wish to control the human race versus those who wish for the freedom to experience joy, faith, hope, and love.
#NeverChristmas is what the Grinches want.
Over the past decades, they have been succeeding. They have, per usual, done it through the mechanism of political correctness. Let it be known you can’t speak of “Christmas;” let it be known you mustn’t sing Christmas carols in schools. Above all, any displays of the Christmas story must be prevented from appearing anywhere.
After all, you might offend somebody.
Let me say this plainly: If you are offended by what was once the common greeting this time of year of “Merry Christmas,” you may have some serious personal issues you need to resolve. It was never offensive to say, or hear, “Merry Christmas;” that was simply the made-up excuse the Grinches used to codify their selfish desire to bury the whole Christmas idea—a giant guilt-trip to bury Christmas deep in a long, joyless winter.
Dennis Prager recently wrote a wonderful piece about the war on Christmas. In it, he explains the meaning of Christmas to him, being Jewish. In it, he defends the overt celebration of Christmas. In it, he explains why he always says “Merry Christmas” this time of year.
To which I say, preach it, brother. He understands the importance of celebrating a tradition that has been at the heart of this country since it was founded. He understands why we need to keep the great traditions of Western civilization: Because they made us better and stronger.
It was John Adams who said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
He also said, “Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean Hell.”
The hell of a long, joyless winter.
You can find quotes from all our founding fathers with a similar bent. Jefferson said it in his own way in the “Declaration of Independence”: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
We have God-given rights.
The First Amendment begins by saying we have the right to freely worship.
All this to say, our country was never formed to strip the public square of God, or religion. That idea is what the Grinches want you to believe: that a long, joyless winter is the best model for the future of America.
If you want to see the heart of what happens when that becomes the model for a country, I invite you to read the stories of heartlessness and despair that were behind the Iron Curtain, or that exist in today’s Venezuela. Solzhenitsyn is a good start.
The heart of the war on Christmas is the heart of a deeper spiritual war, which we have almost ceded to the Grinches with our passivity.
Winning this war is important to everyone in America, including most who consider themselves atheists. Most atheists don’t need to control others, and most don’t want to cede power to the society of Grinches. Winning this war means speaking truth to the Grinch.
Saying “Merry Christmas” is a start; do so often during the Christmas season. When someone says Happy Holidays, say Merry Christmas in return. Ninety percent will smile at you knowingly, saying it right back. By going against the current politically correct speech demanded by so few, you strike the face of a soft tyranny from a small minority.
By taking the time to celebrate Christmas, you celebrate the gifts of your Creator. By celebrating Christmas, you give yourself to the higher purpose of the right to get better—which restores all things. If you are not Christian, like Prager, may I recommend you appreciate the holiday and simply enjoy the festiveness of the season? You don’t really want a land that is always winter and never Christmas. It’s a bad alternative.
Not engaging those who wage war on Christmas has consequences. You can cede the high ground, allowing a long, joyless winter, or you can choose life. The Grinch wants to have it all, while the rest of us have no joy. Choosing life is to celebrate in the best of ways.
Being ruled by the White Witch of Narnia is a terrible option. Instead, celebrate being in Whoville. Celebrate Christmas. Sing and enjoy your family and the gifts of God. It’s worth it.
David Prentice is a writer and novelist from the Midwest.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.