On the eighth day after Jesus’ birth a prophecy laced with further torment was spoken to Mary: “A sword will pierce your own soul”–a pain for her to ponder and dread for over thirty years. During that waiting time, Jesus directed some of his hardest sayings to his gentle mother–words that must have wounded. But the culmination of all her anguish was at the cross, under its very arm, as she watched her beloved son die a slow and brutal death.
But hers was not the kind of dead-end pain that has no meaning. She was privileged to be caught up in the life of the One who fought the fierce battle between light and darkness. We can understand that mix of pain and joy only as we carry Christ in our hearts, birthing him into a hostile world. That may mean suffering; we may be as misunderstood as Mary. But there is a reward: Because eternity was closeted in time, he is our open door to forever. -Luci Shaw
“The One who fought the fierce battle between light and darkness.”
When I read this passage, that particular line jumped out at me. I’ve been thinking about why, at this time of year, I crave fairy tales more than anything else. I don’t think I’m alone, either: think about the blockbuster Christmas movies of the past few years. The Lord of the Rings; Harry Potter; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; and, this year, The (controversial) Golden Compass. Mike and I read The Christmas Mystery, our Advent book about traveling back in time to the moment when Christ was born. I am drawn to fantastic tales like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (or anything from the series listed above) in November and December. I want to see good triumph over evil.
Many of those stories are, of course, just an echo of the one true story of good battling evil, but they carry those sparks of truth in them. Fairy tales are one way of bringing the light of truth into the darkness of this world, and I am thankful for authors who take that responsibility seriously as they write about the big questions of good and evil.
I think that the passage I quoted is much more deep than what I have pulled out of it, but I also think that stories are one of the ways that we can understand the truth about Jesus and the mystery of Incarnation. And so, in their own way, stories that are about the truth of that battle, whether they are explicitly about Jesus or not, point us to that open door that Jesus brings.