C.S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles are about four British schoolchildren who are evacuated from London during the Blitz and lodge with an eccentric uncle in the countryside till it’s over.
Their story begins in the first installment when the children enter an old wardrobe in the attic and emerge out the back in the strange world of Narnia where the animals talk and the White Witch of Winter rules and everyone waits for the arrival of Aslan the great, gold, leonine Redeemer.
After a long series of harrowing adventures, the story ends in the seventh book when Aslan comes to gather the children home one last time. Mr. Lewis ends his Chronicles like this: “Aslan himself was coming, leaping down from cliff to cliff like a living cataract of power and beauty.”
Aslan is one of the most overt Christ figures in our literature, of course, and during Advent, I reacquaint myself with that image: At Christmas, the Son of God leaps down from cliff to cliff in a living cataract of power and beauty.
Seven hundred years before the first Christmas, the prophet Isaiah describes the Expected Messiah in similarly extravagant language: “Unto us a child is born,” he writes, “unto us a son is given. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
During Advent this year at Kenilworth Union, your preachers will look at each of those four bold messianic titles to think about what they tell us about the One who came down to Bethlehem and will come again at the end of days.
To get to all four before Christmas Eve, we’ll start this Sunday, a week early, on Christ the King Sunday, which therefore I’m also calling The Threshold to Advent. Please join us to welcome this living cataract of power and beauty.