Wednesday, 24 December 2008

CS Lewis on Christmas


My family spent a very nice evening last night reading while seated around the fire on the hearth. I had chosen to read from CS Lewis’s 'The Business of Heaven'. The book is more of a CS Lewis reader than a book by CS Lewis. It takes excerpts from CS Lewis’s books and arranges them by a daily reading for each day of the year which follows the ecclesiastical year. What you have is a very pithy eloquent paragraph to read each day, a very nice format for the busy world in which we live. Yesterday, the 23rd had a very nice reading and as it is Christmas Eve I thought it would be fitting to post the paragraph, written by one of Ulster’s most talented sons. Merry Christmas to all, Barry R McCain


23 December

Pagan ‘Christs’ and Christ Himself

Theology, while saying that a special illumination has been vouchsafed to Christians and (earlier) to Jews, also says that there is some divine illumination vouchsafed to all men. The Divine light, we are told, ‘lighteneth every man.’ We should, therefore, expect to find in the imagination of the great Pagan teachers and myth-makers some glimpse of that theme which we believe to be the very plot of the whole cosmic story – the theme of incarnation, death, and rebirth. And the differences between the Pagan Christs (Balder, Osiris, etc.) and the Christ Himself is much what we should expect to find. The Pagan stories are all about someone dying and rising, either every year, or else nobody knows where and nobody knows when. The Christian story is about a historical personage, whose execution can be dated pretty accurately, under a named Roman magistrate, and with whom the society that He founded is in a continuous relation down to the present day. It is not the difference between falsehood and truth. It is the difference between a real event on the one hand and dim dreams of premonitions of that same event on the other. It is like watching something come gradually into focus; first it hangs in the clouds of myth and ritual, vast and vague, then it condenses, grows hard and in a sense small, as a historical event in first-century Palestine.
CS Lewis

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