Thoughts for the Month

The Right Reverend Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester, writes…

One of the aspects of Narnia, in CS Lewis’s novel, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, is that it is always winter and never Christmas.

We get quite excited about the arrival of winter if it brings snow at just the right time for enjoyment—sledging, making a snowman, snowballing.

But in Narnia, seasons are suspended in the grip of a ferocious frost. Silence is a pervading atmosphere in Narnia, as it is in today’s world, where justice is denied to prisoners of conscience, and the needs of women, children, the elderly and vulnerable are ignored.

Silence is the refuge of the deceitful, just as it can be the medium of corporate grief and respect for our dead. It is the symbol of our sin and our mortality.

One of the hallmarks of Christmas, however, is that the silence is broken. It is broken by the cry of a new-born child drawing breath and needing food—Jesus Christ, one with us. It is also broken by the song of the angels who announce his birth to people of goodwill.

Music can plant a song in our minds, letting it inspire us, as one of God’s gifts to us. But we can take music for granted, and too rarely appreciate the skills and contribution of those who are our music-makers.

This Christmas, as we sing our carols, let us be grateful for musicians, as they help us to be mindful of the silent places in our world and closer to home, where the good news of peace and hope and justice has not yet penetrated.

Those who are frozen in silent poverty and despair, await more than a seasonal hand-out. They look for a melting of hearts and minds that will bring social and material release and encourage them to join the angel song of peace that we are still trying to learn.

+ Martin

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