Friday, December 19, 2008

Santa, Aslan, Harry Potter, and God


It's C-day minus 6. Are the decorations up? Presents bought and wrapped? Meals planned? Cookies baked? Sugar-high children restrained?

In all the rush, has Christ gone missing again?

You might want to make a pot of spicy tea, settle down in an overstuffed chair, and read a fairy tale.

That approach would make sense to Tony Woodlief, a management consultant and writer who, in his wonderful op-ed piece in yesterday's Wall Street Journal (thanks, Molly, for the tip), pits Chesterton, Lewis, MacDonald, Rowling, and St. Paul against "puritans and atheists" who prefer their truth straight up.

St. Paul?

There's "a seeming paradox in St. Paul's letter to Roman Christians," Woodlief writes:
"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. . . ." How does one see "invisible attributes"? Only people raised on fairy tales can make sense of that. It belongs in a terrain where magic glasses can illumine what was heretofore hidden, where rabbit holes open into wonderlands. No wonder some atheists like Mr. Dawkins want to kill Harry Potter.
Many years ago my daughter Heidi was walking home from school when she overheard this earnest exchange between two first-graders walking a few paces behind her:
First Child: Did you know that there are people who don't believe in God?
Second Child: That's nothing. I know people who don't believe in Santa Claus!
That child would be in her thirties now. I hope she still believes in magic.

6 comments:

Caryn said...

Thanks for this post--and for sharing Woodlief's article (he has a cool, elf-sounding name, BTW!). I need very little encouragement to continue sharing the "magic" of the season, and I always love reading about it. For what it's worth, one of my favorite Advent reads is "The Christmas Mystery," by Jostein Gaardner and illustrated by Rosemary Wells. It's beautiful, magical, fun, a little exciting, and yet really all about seeking Jesus. I read it with my kids every year (well, for the past 6 at least!). Merry Christmas!

Neil said...

I always settle down with a cup of spicy tea (actually, I prefer spiced cider) and read George MacDonald's "The Gifts of the Child Christ" around this time of year. I'm not sure I would call it a fairy tale, but it definitely reminds me about what's important at Christmas time. Thanks for the post -- LaVonne Carlson

Myrrh said...

I love this post! I looked you up because of your book, One of a Kind, which I'm reading in preparation for a talk I'm giving to a mothers' group. I'm a certified MBTI practitioner, and oddly enough, a writer too :) I actually met your husband about a decade ago when I interviewed for a residency position at CT. Anyway, it's always great to find a kindred spirit--I'm wondering if you're an INFJ also--I'll have to see if that's in the book...

Myrrh said...

How funny that it turns out you're an ENFP, just like my husband! I think all of our kids are intuiting, too, but like you said in the book, I'm trying not to label them, especially so early on...

LaVonne Neff said...

Well... people have told me I'm an ENFP because at one time or another I've identified with maybe half the types. And my younger daughter, who really is an ENFP, wants to claim me (for which I'm thankful). But at the moment I think I'm probably an INTJ. Unless I'm an ENTP. And the Enneagram is even more confusing!

Myrrh said...

In the book, you said your husband was an INTJ so that would make you the same, which I kind of doubt (unless you've morphed into him!). I honestly can't imagine an INTJ looking like an ENFP. I have the actual MBTI questionnaire which I could administer by mail if you'd like to find out what your true preferences are :)