Always Winter but never Christmas

Today at First Presbyterian Church Doug gave a sermon on Revelation 11:15-19. Verse 15 goes something like this (ESV):

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”

The is one of the verses that makes me comfortable with the “now but not yet” theology (that is to say that the Kingdom of God is here now, but not yet fully realized). Jesus heralded the Kingdom, He is the “now”. But until He returns, the Kingdom will not be fully experienced. We have glimpses and experience bits of the Kingdom, but will not get to completely enjoy it until He returns. One of the comments the Doug made that resonated with me was that “we are subject to the kingdom of this world, but not subjects of the kingdom of this world.” Indeed!

This led to a comment about Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In that world, they were subject to the constant winter instituted by the White Witch. That winter would never lead to Christmas, they were always in the “not yet”. The coming of Aslan, Narnia’s Jesus, led to Christmas and the salvation of that Kingdom.

I really enjoy Lewis’ use of this imagery. We are always living in this tension between the now and not yet, but sometimes it can be hard to look forward to what is to come because we don’t really know what to expect. Lewis’ use of winter with the never coming Christmas makes it easy for us to get a picture in our mind. I am, of course, not just talking about not getting presents or having large family dinners. If there was no Christmas, there would be no salvation, no personal relationship with God. Christ’s advent not only allows us to live in the “now” but also in anticipation of that which is still “not yet”.

Relient K wrote an awesome song based on Narnia’s constant cold in their song In Like A Lion on their Apathetic EP (lyrics below). Definitely check it out, it says it all so well!

Relient K’s 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

And everything it changed overnight
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

Categories: Meaningful Song, Theology Tags:
  1. December 10th, 2006 at 23:17 | #1

    Hmm, I’ve never heard it explained quite like that, thanks. That’s a good analogy of Jesus’ Kingdom on earth, another way of saying, “we’re in the world, but not of it.”

  2. December 12th, 2006 at 10:51 | #2

    Is this some sort of amill thing or am I just not getting what you are saying at all?

  3. December 12th, 2006 at 13:44 | #3

    So that is 1 for and 1 against… heh.

    I think this is definitely similar to the “in the world but not of it” notion.

    So Kristin, what am I not explaining well?

  4. December 12th, 2006 at 16:58 | #4

    This whole now and not yet part. What does that mean?

    And then tying the “always winter and never Christmas” thing in just multiplied the troubles. I could be overthinking the analogy, however. Or possibly, underthinking it.

    So basically, the entire premise of your post.

  5. December 12th, 2006 at 17:52 | #5

    The “now but not yet” is in reference to the Kingdom of God. Christ brought with him the Kingdom when he was born. We are all, as Christians, currently part of that Kingdom. This is the “now”. But it has not yet been fully realized and won’t be until Christ returns and brings with him the new heaven and new earth. So we are also living in the “not yet” of the Kingdom.

    Narnia’s perpetual winter is a decent parallel to that because Narnia still provided a good and blessed (while fallen) kingdom to its people it was not a complete Kingdom until Christmas was to come, when Aslan returned, the kingdom of Narnia was fully realized.

    Now this isn’t really a complete analogy because Narnia still isn’t perfectly good until the Last Battle.

    I guess my point is that “Always winter but never Christmas” = “now but not yet”. The confusion might be entering is because for us, Christmas already has come… but for Narnia it hadn’t until Aslan returned… and I think I am confusing things again…

    Does that help at all??

  6. December 13th, 2006 at 09:30 | #6

    The first part did.

    I’m just going to ignore the whole Narnia part for everyone’s safety.

  7. December 13th, 2006 at 11:35 | #7

    Heh, please feel free to ignore any portions of my blog. :)

  8. December 13th, 2006 at 13:49 | #8

    I heard part of a sermon on the radio yesterday that dug a bit into the first portion of your post. He was examining what he called “the correct theology of heaven” (which, by the way, I tried hard to ignore because when people talk like that it gets my skin burning. but one point he made was that (in his view) the heaven people go to when they die now is not the same heaven that will exist at the time of the resurrection. He taught that people still go to heaven now but that heaven will one day be made new and “relocated” to the new earth where Yeshua will reign as King and God’s throne will reside in the new Jerusalem.

    Personally, I think that’s mixing all kinds of theories that don’t need mixing… but it’s a theory. of course he thinks he’s spot-on (who doesn’t?)

    but anyway, the whole “kingdom now, and also not yet” idea seems to work in with the view that Yeshua will come back a second time and his Kingdom will physically exist as well as spiritually in our world.

  9. December 13th, 2006 at 15:18 | #9

    I thought this was a really interesting post. You might also check out 2nd Chapter of Acts “The Roar of Love.” Might have been before your time, :-) but it was a group of songs written about the story of Narnia. One beautiful song was called, “Christmas, Where Are You,” which I thought of while reading your post. I shall have to check out Relient K’s song.

  10. December 13th, 2006 at 17:46 | #10

    I’m sorry were you talking? :)

    My Narnia song nomination:
    Further Up & Further In by Jacob’s Trouble. Luckily for me it has nothing to do with winter or Christmas.

  11. December 14th, 2006 at 14:06 | #11

    Personally, I think that’s mixing all kinds of theories that don’t need mixing… but it’s a theory. of course he thinks he’s spot-on (who doesn’t?)

    Well I am always spot-on… except when I have no idea what I am talking about. ;)

    The issue of heaven is a confusing one because the Bible isn’t exactly specific about what happens. I am one to think that heaven will come to Earth with Jesus’ second coming. But I am not so sure about what happens to people after they die until then. I am prone to think that since temporality isn’t necessarily required in heaven, after we die we don’t notice any sort of time leg between death and the new heaven. I am not really comfortable with the “sleep” theology which is kind of where my beliefs lead… so basically I’m not really sure… but I’m also not too worried about it! heh.

    but anyway, the whole “kingdom now, and also not yet” idea seems to work in with the view that Yeshua will come back a second time and his Kingdom will physically exist as well as spiritually in our world.

    That I would definitely agree with.

    I have heard 2nd Chapter of Acts, I guess I will have to listen to “The Roar of Love”. Thanks Jan!

    I haven’t heard any of Jacob’s Trouble before Kristin, but I love Lewis’ use of “Further Up & Further In”, I guess I will have to check that one out too!

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