Always Winter—Preaching to Ourselves

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Lucy believes she has hidden away in a wardrobe. She has actually stepped through a door into the wonder-filled land of Narnia. Wandering in the winter, she encounters Mr. Tumnus, the fawn. They have tea together, talk together, and then he escorts her away from danger and away from the threat of the White Witch looking out for sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. As one of the old rhymes in Narnia says:

When Adam’s flesh and Adam’s bone

Sits at Cair Paravel in throne

The evil time will be over and done

The White Witch knows that when Eve’s daughters and the sons of Adam appear, she is finished. 

I have a friend who says we need to preach the gospel to ourselves. Like the people of Narnia who repeated the old rhymes,

Wrong will be right when Aslan comes in sight,

At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more, 

When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death

And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.

A Promise that is Enough  

In a world where much is adrift, and we are at odds with many, we need to preach the gospel to ourselves to revive our hope. We have the promise, ie the good news of God, to hold onto in the darkness (if that darkness isn’t treatable depression). As we preach this good news to ourselves, we let his promise to us ( to us a “child is born, to us a son is given… and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”) be enough to live in the hope of the dawning of a new and more extraordinary day. To live in the hope that it will not always be winter and never Christmas.

Grabbing the Moments

To live in that hope by preaching the gospel to ourselves and by grabbing those moments, you get a taste of the promise. After Ahaz dies, his son Hezekiah becomes king. Hezekiah is not perfect, but he is a good king, a wise king, a king who looks out for the religious and economic welfare of the people. It is a taste of the dawn. God graciously gives us a taste of the promise, a taste of the dawn in many places. Certainly, in celebrating the birth of Jesus, we get a taste. On resurrection morning, we get a taste. When we get to the end of the month and money is left in our account, we get a taste. We get a taste when we find an island of laughter in a sea of sorrow. And week by week, celebrating the Eucharist, we literally get a taste of the dawn.

To live in that hope, you get a taste of the dawn by grabbing hold of and celebrating the promises that are already yours: promises that you are forgiven, promises that nothing will ever separate you from his love, promises that he has given you gifts and abilities to serve in his kingdom mission and so much more. 

To live in that hope, in places where the promises are alive, you can be people who are involved in God’s mission showing there is a dawn. Where people who could never imagine the end of winter or the celebration of Christmas discover the goodness of both. 

To live in that hope by seeing that God has already done the most, the greatest, and if he has done the greatest—as Paul writes,

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31–32 NIV11)

In days when it seems all darkness and no dawn, we join with the true inhabitants of Narnia in preaching the gospel to ourselves. And then we live the gospel promises and actions as people of the dawn while we wait for the final breaking of the dawn.