How C.S. Lewis Wrecked My American Christmas

by Mary Jo Sharp

I grew up dreaming of a white Christmas with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. Christmas was about red, green and white. It was about lights on houses, displays in stores and snowy weather. Christmas was a time of stressful hurrying about to make the desserts, see the family, give to charity, wrap up school work, find the perfect presents and watch that newest movie on which I waited all year. It was about parties and friends and church musicals. Oh…and it was also about Jesus. As the slogan reminds me, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Of course “Jesus is the reason,” but there were also so many expectations this time of year. Specifically, and prominently, there were my expectations of the holidays. All of these things seem to stem from traditions to which I have clung from childhood to the present. I wanted to feel a certain way, and I was going to pursue that feeling at all costs.

Yet something unexpected happened this holiday season. I finished reading The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis and his writing interrupted my entire holiday mindset. What did he do? Let me share three ways Lewis wrecked my American Christmas.

1) Lewis made me aware that what I thought I had to do, or had to have, during the holidays was all a pretense; traditions taking the place of real contentment and joy.

Traditions, in of themselves, are not inherently bad, but I hadn’t realized how much I was clinging to American Christmas ideology and visions for my happiness[1] at this time of year. All of these traditions should serve as signposts pointing toward the source of the traditions. Instead, the signposts have been replacing the source of joy. Lewis’ writing helped me to reflect upon my abuse of the traditions in the place of the source. He helped me to understand my humanity in a fallen world…

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