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There are some very warm Christmas carols, but there are some too with words of ice. Like that one that starts off with a merry rest offered to gentlemen, but then gets down to business: “To save us all from Satan’s power when we had gone astray”. Whew! Not easy to sing with candle in hand and Sunday School children parading in angel-wings. Yet most of us have no idea of the malice that was directed against our first parents.
C S Lewis is one of the few I know who attempted to explore the ugly side of that original hatred. In the second of his books in The Space Trilogy, Perelandra, he attempts a fictional rewriting of Genesis 2 and 3, but as taking place on Venus. On that blue planet, the lead character Dr Ransom prevents the Tempter from repeating his mischief and plunging that innocent world into sin. And along the way, Lewis deeply exercises our thinking about the manner and nature of ‘Satan’s power’.
Lewis’ clever writing is all the more powerful because it is grounded in the true Story, of a fall that really did happen, and of a Saviour who really did come, and of a ransom that really was paid, and of a costly love that really was shown to this spiritually-cold planet. And so we turn again this week to mark another Christmas Day, and to celebrate that rest that puts the merry in the Christmas, and the very in the merry.
DM 20th December 2022