‘Hoping’ For a Short Winter? [v82]

DECEMBER 2005

ARE YOU ‘HOPING’ FOR A SHORT WINTER?
Well, it finally looks like winter is here to stay in Michigan—at least for a while.

Back in the late 60’s when I was a teen, the ‘slogan’ on our license plates was “Water-Winter Wonderland.” Personally, at that time, I really enjoyed the winter—primarily for all the activities, but sometimes for the gorgeous, pristine ‘look’ a fresh fallen snow gave to the landscape. It was a ‘delightful’ season of the year, back then.

But, as I have grown older it has become more of a ‘chore’—getting ‘in the way’ or ‘slowing’ me down from the things I need to get done. It’s not as ‘delightful’ for me any more (though not so with Arielle and Tyler…yet).

Even for those who very much enjoy the winter season, I can’t imagine they would want it all the time—for it to be always winter.

Recently I was reading a Time Magazine article about the part of North Eastern Russia, Chukotka, where Roman Abramovich, of Chelsea fame, is the Governor.

According to Time, he has invested over £100m of his own money to build everything from hotels and cinemas to supermarkets and office buildings for the declining population—-a bleak frozen province with a population of just 73,000—where the temperature at this time of year can drop to -40 C, and the biting cold winds can ‘kill’ exposed flesh in seconds.

The ground is so frozen that the sewage pipes and other utilities have to be laid on the surface of the ground, since it’s impossible to dig into the frozen land to bury them in the normal manner. It’s a bleak, desolate and frozen landscape where to say “the frosty winds may moan” is a complete understatement. This is a cold, ‘seemingly’ hopeless place to try to ‘grind out’ some sort of existence—never mind a ‘life’—with little hope of improvement or relief.

When I was finished reading the article, I was reminded of a great classical fantasy series I had read to my kids when they were small—and it so happens to have been made into a movie that is premiering this weekend. It is called “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis (Clive Staples Lewis, Jack to his close friends).

Let me describe for you what this ‘mystical’ country is like. First of all, it is always winter in Narnia. There may have been other seasons long ago, but ever since the evil Queen Jadis illegitimately claimed the land as her own and declared herself the ruler over all of it, she has kept it under her evil spell making it winter all the time. What’s worse, she has forced all living creatures, gnomes and centaurs, dwarves, and giants, even the woodland animals to be submissive to her rule at the threat of death. With her magic powers she has dominated all rebels against her reign and anyone who dares to oppose her is turned to stone and placed in the courtyard of her palace as a frozen testimony of her power. The statues are frozen reminders of what happens to those who rebel against her evil empire. It’s always winter in Narnia, but never “Christmas.”

Doesn’t that sound dismal—like the place in Russia? Has life ever seemed like that to you?…like one long winter of cold, snow-covered ground, trees with leaf-less branches, constantly clouded skies….with no “Christmas”—nothing to look forward to, and no light of hope?

All people thirst for hope in life—it’s what keeps us going. When we are trapped in a tunnel of misery, hope points to the light at the end. When we are over-worked and exhausted, hope gives us fresh energy. When we are tempted to quit, hope keeps us going. When we lose our way and confusion blurs the destination, hope dulls the edge of panic. When life forces us to sit back and wait, hope give us the patience to trust.

Author Charles Swindoll has well said, “When life hurts and dreams fade, nothing helps like hope.”

Webster defines hope as, “Desire accompanied by expectation of, or belief in, fulfillment.”—and, how vital is that expectation! Without it, prisoners of war languish and die. Students get discouraged and drop out of school. The Lions (or Tigers) fall into a ‘slump’ and continue to lose. Without this expectation, addicts return to their habits. Marriage partners decide to divorce. Inventors, artists, entertainers, entrepreneurs, and even preachers, lose their creativity. You see, hope isn’t merely a nice option that helps us temporarily clear a hurdle that we encounter on life’s road—HOPE IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR SURVIVAL!

There’s an old poem that says this better than I can:

“You are as young as your faith—as old as your doubt;
as young as your self-confidence—as old as your fear;
as young as your hope—as old as your despair.”

Perhaps this is part of the ‘wonder of Christmas’—for the Christmas ‘event’ reminds us that hopes still can come true—and in Narnia, Lewis reminds us why Christmas is so special. The “Lion of Judah,” the True King has been born! For, as the lyrics to the old Christmas carol says, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight!”

To some, Christmas is an idle tale, fiction, and a farce.—but to others it is a ‘force’—God’s ‘gift’ of redeeming grace to a ‘frost-bitten’ world, and a plan to redeem the world from this state of cold ‘wintry’ hopelessness.

Like any Christmas present, God’s Christmas ‘gift’ of Jesus invites a response. We must decide for ourselves if what happened in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago is just a fantasy story, just a historical event, or something that can have some relevance for us today.

(If you would like to investigate further “historical” facts, visit the following link: http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q4_d1_1of10.html ).

If you are open to it, let me encourage you to ask God to ‘infuse’ you with the warmth of His love to melt the ‘frozen places’ in your life, and to help you open the best ‘present’ you could ever receive—a personal relationship His Son, Jesus!

So, if you can’t stand the suspense, and need to know more details about the movie or C. S. Lewis, either give me a call or visit the links below. But, better yet, let me encourage you to go and see the movie—I can guarantee it will be a ‘delightful’ experience!

[Excerpts from: Reverend Dr. Sam Cappleman; Lisa Kenkeremath; Matthew Everhard]

TRAILERS (some are ‘spoilers’):
http://www.narniaweb.com/trailers.asp

ADDITIONAL MOVIE INFO:
http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/narnia/index.html
http://www.walden.com/web/teach/lww
http://www.family.org/resources/itempg.cfm?itemid=3631&SourceCode=OL05XRCS
http://www.hearitfirst.com/narnia/

INFO ABOUT LEWIS:
http://www.cslewis.org/
http://cslewis.drzeus.net/

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PRIVATE SHOWING OF THE “NARNIA” MOVIE:
I would like to invite you and your friends to a special showing of the movie, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” THIS SATURDAY Saturday, 10 DEC 05 at the Emagine theater in Novi (across from Twelve  Oaks Mall in “Fountain Walk”) at 10: 30 AM.

TICKETS ARE REQUIRED and available at the Faith Covenant Church office (14 Mile and Drake Roads)—but they’re GOING FAST!

The ticket also includes “LUNCH IN NARNIA,” a sampling of some of the special foods eaten in Narnia, and activities after the lunch to get a deeper understanding of the ‘hidden’ meanings presented in the movie. A GOOD TIME FOR ALL!!!

For more information call 248-661-9191 or visit their web site at:  http://www.4FCC.org

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Blessings…Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v82) for DECEMBER 2005
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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THE CHRONICLES
Over the years I have re-read The Narnia Chronicles many, many times and their magic never fails. As you grow up, they grow with you. As a child I read the books as exciting, fantasy stories. As I got older I discovered the likeness between Aslan and Christ and to my great joy discovered that C. S. Lewis was a Christian and that The Chronicles were infact written with the Bible as its base. As a grown up I still discover new ideas and angles and links to the Bible and Christian life every time I travel to the land of Narnia. The Narnia books always fill my heart with great joy! If you still haven’t read The Narnia Chronicles then I recommend most heartedly that you do so. Whether you are 10 or 65, they will still hold something special for you, some “deeper magic from before the dawn of time.”

The Magicians Nephew
This is the first book which describes the birth of Narnia, by its creator Aslan and the evil that comes to the land of Narnia in the form of the witch. The children, Digory and Polly, help Aslan in keeping Narnia safe for the years to come.

“Creatures, I give you yourselves”, said the strong, happy voice of Aslan. “I give to you forever this land of Narnia. I give you the woods, the fruits, the rivers. I give you the stars and I give you myself.”

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The second book in The Chronicles is really the first book C. S. Lewis wrote, and maybe the best known. This is where Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter enter the magical wardrobe and ends up in Narnia. The white witch holds the land enthralled in forever winter and never Christmas. The children aid Aslan in restoring Narnia. It’s also about how Edmund becomes a traitor, but is forgiven and redeemed through Aslan’s sacrifice.

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight. At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more, when he bares his teeth, winter meets its death, And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”

The Horse and His Boy
The third book tells of the adventures of Shasta, Aravis and the horses Bree and Hwin as they escape from Calormen to Archenland and at the same time help Aslan to yet again save Narnia. These events take place during the reign of the High King Peter, the golden years of Narnia.

“Child”, said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.” “Who are you”, asked Shasta. “Myself”, said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again “Myself”, loud and clear and gay: and then the third time “Myself”, whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all around you as if the leaves rustled with it.”

Prince Caspian
Again the children come to Narnia in a time of unrest. Together with prince Caspian and Aslan they restore “Old Narnia”.

“To know what would have happened, child?” said Aslan. “No. Nobody is ever told that.” “Oh dear”, said Lucy. “But anyone can find out what will happen,” said Aslan.”

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Lucy, Edmund and Eustace are drawn into a painting back to Narnia. Together with Prince Caspian and the valiant mouse Reepicheep, they travel on the Dawn treader to the end of the world, in search of the lost Narnian nobles and in the search for Aslan’s country.

“Please, Lamb”, said Lucy, “is this the way to Aslan’s country?” “Not for you”, said the Lamb. For you the door into Aslan’s country is from your own world.”

“Are you there too, Sir”, said Edmund. “I am”, said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

The Silver Chair
Eustace and Jill are called to Narnia by Aslan, in order to find the lost prince Rilian. Together with the marshwiggle Puddleglum they set off on a perilious journey. They venture down into the Underworld and defy the evil that again threatens the land of Narnia.

“One word, Ma’am,” Puddleglum said…”One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s the funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”

The Last Battle
Eustace and Jill come to Narnia in its darkest hour. King Tirian and Narnia are in deep trouble as Calormen invade Narnia and a traitor and a fraud threatens its very existence. The children witness the end of Narnia but discover that Narnia still exists, “further up and further in” and that they will never have to leave again.

“And as He spoke He no longer looked to them as a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and so beautiful that I cannot write them…it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

The Chronicles in chronological order and with their date of publish.
1     The Magicians Nephew (1955)
2     The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
3     The Horse and His Boy (1954)
4     Prince Caspian (1951)
5     The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
6     The Silver Chair (1953)
7     The Last Battle (1956)
[http://home8.swipnet.se/~w-81573/Chronicles.htm]

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IN LIKE A LION (ALWAYS WINTER)
It’s always nice to look out the window
And see those very first few flakes of snow
And later on we can go outside
And create the impression of an angel
That just fell from the sky

When February rolls around I’ll roll my eyes
Turn a cold shoulder to these even colder skies
And by the fire, my heart, it heaves a sigh
For the green grass waiting on the other side

It’s always winter, but never Christmas
It seems this curse just can’t be lifted
Yet in the midst of all this ice and snow
Our hearts stay warm ’cause they are filled with hope

It’d be so nice to look out the window
And see the leaves on the trees begin to show
The birds would congregate and sing
A song of birth, a song of newer things

The wind would calm and the sun would shine
I’d go outside and I’d squint my eyes
But for now I will simply just withdraw
Sit here and wish for this world to thaw

It’s always winter, but never Christmas
It seems this curse just can’t be lifted
Yet in the midst of all this ice and snow
Our hearts stay warm ’cause they are filled with hope

And everything, it changed over night
This dying world, You brought it back to life
And deep inside, I felt things shifting
Everything was melting away (Oh, away)
And You gave us the most beautiful of days

Cause when it’s always winter, but never Christmas
Sometimes it feels like You’re not with us
But deep inside our hearts we know
That You are here and we will not lose hope
[Lyrics of ReliantK song]

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DEEP THOUGHT
People want the front of the bus, the back of the church, and the center of attention.  [Anon.]

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I hope you enjoyed some of these insights. Share them with your friends and colleagues, so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from—and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” especially if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” [Isaiah 40:30-31].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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