Reading Time: 4 mins

The Christmas Story proclaimed in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

Reading Time: 4 mins

The good news of the Gospel is Jesus has come, and Jesus will come again.

Even 14-year-olds like to draw pictures for their teacher.

I received a drawing from one of my most energetic football players. He drew it on the back of his memory quiz. It made me laugh and pulled on my heart. Teachers live for the moments when their students have an "aha" moment. This drawing showed me that he understood our Theology Christmas Movie assignment.

Every year before our first semester finals, I watch a Christmas Movie with my students. They all like to guess what the movie might be. Is it Elf? Die Hard? A Hallmark Movie? They hesitantly ask if the movie will be a "Bible Movie." (I'm a teacher who has a hard time just showing a movie for "fun") As a high school theology teacher, the Christmas movie I choose does an excellent job reviewing our previous unit: 10 words describing how God gives us salvation.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was, of course, first a book written by Oxford professor and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis and published in 1950. Lewis wrote the book as a gift for his god-daughter Lucy. Most of my students have heard of the movie, and some had seen it when they were little, but only a handful had read the book. The movie we watched in class was released in 2005, three years before my students were born. As we start the film, we all look for examples of the important words we have learned, words which include original sin, vicarious atonement, justification, grace, law, and gospel.

Some words are easier to spot than others. The law is easily spotted when Mrs. Macready lays out the rules of the professor's home to the Pevensie children: Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. It is magical to watch with a class of 14-year-olds who marvel at Lucy stepping through the wardrobe for the first time. Lucy meets Mr. Tumnus, a fawn who teaches her about Narnia and the White Witch, who makes it "always winter but never Christmas." Later, Edmund also visits Narnia but betrays Lucy by telling his other siblings that his visit was only pretend. My students cringe when Edmund lies to Peter and Susan and breaks poor old Lu's heart by claiming it's all been a game. They groan, "Edmund is the worst!"

When all the Pevensie children arrive in Narnia through the wardrobe, they discover the witch has captured Lucy's friend, Mr. Tumnus. The siblings meet a talking beaver (who always gets a laugh in the classroom), who invites them to talk in the safety of his home. Over tea, Beaver shares all sorts of troubling news with the children, including the tactics of the White Witch and Mr. Tumnus's dangerous predicament. The children are alarmed. Mrs. Beaver attempts to cheer the children up by adding, "but there's hope!"

At this point, I make sure all my students are listening carefully and that the volume is on max. They are about to witness a pivotal scene that I want them to recognize. Mr. Beaver looks around, leans in over the table, and in a low whisper, announces: 

Aslan is on the move. 

The camera pans over the children, and they all have this look of wonder at this announcement. Then Edmund, the only one without a smile, asks the important question: Who's Aslan? Beaver laughs at this question and then gasps when he realizes that the children have no idea who Aslan is! 

We know that in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lewis's character, Aslan (a lion), is the good king coming to save his people from the White Witch.

Here is the teachable moment. I pause the movie and ask, "What just happened here?" Some classes catch on faster than others, but sometimes I get blank looks. I tell the students that the book does a better job of explaining what's happening in the minds of the children, and I read this passage from the book:

"They say Aslan is on the move – perhaps has already landed. And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don't understand but in the dream it feels as if it has some enormous meaning- either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside."

Indeed, the Lion who humbled himself to die for each of us is a picture of our Savior, Jesus.

Then I ask, "which of the 10 Words captures this idea of hearing this GOOD NEWS about ASLAN on the move?" The look of realization appears on my students as the realization kicks in. They shout out, "It's the gospel! It's Good News! It must be heard!"

That's exactly right. The good news of the Gospel is Jesus has come, and Jesus will come again. This is the good news that we get to share. Beaver is so excited to share with the children that the return of Aslan means Christmas is coming. The return of Aslan means that he who created the world will be able to restore it, and that's good news!! 

Remember the shepherds hearing this good news proclaimed to them from the angels. They ran and told everyone to hear the good news that the Savior had been born. He was born to be the lamb of God, who would take away our sins. Jesus is our vicarious atonement, bearing our sin in our place for our salvation. We can be forgiven and free indeed! Christmas is such good news and something worth sharing.

I hope that my students have good memories of watching this Christmas Movie in class with me. The drawing I received from my football player years ago was a lion with wild hair and a mouth open full of sharp teeth. The lion had a little speech bubble that proclaimed, "RAWR! I'm pretty much Jesus!" 

Indeed, the Lion who humbled himself to die for each of us is a picture of our Savior, Jesus.