My very favorite single line ever written with regard to Christmas is from a work of fiction that never explicitly mentions Christmas.
In C.S. Lewis’ closing book of his Narnia series, The Last Battle, Narnia’s last king finds himself thrown through a stable door in the midst of the brutal, apparently losing fight. But instead of a dank, dark, smelly barn, King Tirian finds himself looking at blue sky in an endless, beautiful, grassy countryside, with laughing friends all around him. Then comes the line:
“It seems, then,” said Tirian, smiling himself, “that the stable seen from within and the stable seen from without are two different places.”
One of those friends, Lord Digory, then made the meaning clearer still: “Yes. Its inside is bigger than its outside.”
Year after year, of course, we routinely celebrate a particular childbirth in a stable, and we all are more than familiar with the obvious array of symbolisms involved: the God of the universe as helpless child; the powerful king surrounded by squalor; the coming of a savior heralded by lowly shepherds. Most ubiquitous of all is the image of the baby, the baby, the baby. Everybody loves a tender little baby!
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