Grayson Carter is associate professor of church history, primarily serving Fuller Seminary Southwest, and has taught at Fuller since 2002. Prior to that he served as Chaplain and Tutor for Theology at Brasenose College, Oxford, and taught in the Department of Religion at Methodist University in North Carolina.
The Journey of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love
Lessons in Preparation for Christmas Drawn from C.S. Lewis’ “The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader”
Every Christmas is a journey of discovering anew God’s hope, peace, joy and love.
Scene (chapter 1): Edmund, Lucy and Eustace enter Narnia through a magical painting.
In “The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader,” three school children encounter another real world that begins breaking into our own world. Mary had an experience like this when the angel Gabriel appeared to her in Nazareth.
A. We discover that true hope comes from a world beyond our world.
1. True hope brightens dull days Luke 1:26-28
a. Mary was in an ordinary town on and ordinary day
b. Gabriel came with God’s hopeful message
c. That hope we celebrate each Christmas
2. Even hope can be frightening Luke 1:29-33
a. Hope always looks toward a different future
b. Change can be difficult to face
c. Godly change is both difficult and wonderful
d. God calls us to see past fright to wonder
3. Hope requires faith and willingness Luke 1:34-38
a. Real questions may still remain
b. God’s explanations still contain mystery
c. Mary chose faith and willingness
d. We likewise can choose faith and willingness
B. We discover that God gives us peace and invites us to share that peace.
Scene (chapter 7): Reepicheep consoles Eustace (as the dragon) that things will turn out right in the end.
In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the valiant mouse Reepicheep is inspired by the belief that adversity is often overcome, and his confidence inspires others. The shepherds around Bethlehem find inspiration in the news that God’s peace is coming to a people in need of a savior.
1. The Peace of Consolation Luke 2:8-10
a. The shepherds were terrified
b. The angels counseled courage
c. The angels promised good news
d. God comforts so that we can comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:4-5)
2. The Peace of Salvation Luke 2:11
a. The shepherds needed a savior
b. This savior would be the Anointed One
c. This savior would rule as Lord
d. Christ speaks the peace of salvation as we call Him “Lord”
3. The Peace of Confirmation Luke 2:12-14
a. The shepherds were given confirmation
b. Confirmation was in the person of Christ
c. Confirmation was found in simple things
d. God’s love confirms His love through Christ (Romans 5:8)
4. The Peace of Deputation Luke 2:15-18
a. The shepherds saw for themselves
b. The shepherds spread the word
c. We too are called to spread the peace of Christ
C. In discovering God’s calling for our lives we discover joy.
Scene (chapter 14): Ramadu’s daughter explains vital information for Caspian fulfilling his quest.
In “The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader” the daughter of a star teaches Caspian what he must do to fulfill Aslan’s purposes. Following a star, the Magi came to Judea convinced that God’s purposes were being fulfilled in their own lifetime.
1. Joy in trusting that God is at work Matthew 2:1-2
a. The Magi trusted in an old promise (Numbers 24:17)
b. The Magi looked for signs of God at work
c. The Magi sought help in discovering those signs
d. The Church points us to the promises and signs
2. Joy in trusting that God has a plan Matthew 2:3-6
a. God’s plan for Jesus’ birth (Micah 5:2)
b. God has a plan for your life too
c. Begin to discover that plan
3. Joy in discovering where that plan may lead you Matthew 2:7-10
a. The Magi’s journey was fraught with danger
b. The Magi’s journey was fraught with uncertainty
c. The Magi’s were overjoyed to be on the journey
d. Don’t forget to enjoy your journey
D. We discover that love is made real as we act on that love.
Scene (chapter 16): Reepicheep and the children say goodbye before he sails off into Aslan’s country.
In “The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader” the love between the main characters grow through adversity, while their common love of Aslan deepens. Through adversity and surprises, Joseph’s love for Mary, for the Christ Child and for God is made real in practical ways.
1. Love made real through Compassion Matthew 1:18-19
a. Joseph’s love for Mary
b. Saving her from shame
c. Growing in his understanding of God’s plan
d. In showing compassion, God’s plan becomes more clear
e. This too is love
2. Love made real through Adoption Matthew 1:20-23
a. Joseph’s love for Jesus
b. Giving him a family and a name
c. Jesus’ name means “The Lord saves”
d. Jesus saves us, adopting us into God’s family
e. This too is love
3. Love made real through Obedience Matthew 1:24-25
a. Joseph’s love for God
b. In understanding God’s desire, he followed them
c. God want us to understand and to follow
d. This too is love