Lewis responds to Edward Lofstrom in a January 1959 letter on good books of Christian instruction for children. “I don’t know the answer,” Lewis says. “Most of those I have seen… seem to me namby-pamby and ‘sissie’ and calculated to nauseate any child worth his salt.” He brings up Narnia as a “fantastic form,” asks to be forgiven for any salesmanship, and continues with some advice about Jesus’s appeal.
Jesus is the extreme union of both, “great ferocity and extreme tenderness,” says Lewis. In the Passion, Jesus shows himself impoverished and God Almighty, for example, “filling all the space between,” Lewis states, quoting from Pascal. Add in irony, presentation and humor – the hope is to get, “to the real Man behind all the plaster dolls that have been substituted for Him.”
We might reflect on the shine of the Christmas scene without seeing the shadow of the cross. We might miss the Creator as we see him humbled inside his creation. Jesus, says Lewis, “will frighten and puzzle” us. If he does not, perhaps we have substituted a more palpable Jesus in place of the violent love he expounds and exposes for us.
As we enter Advent and journey toward Christmas night and the 12 days that follow it, may we embrace the mystery and reality of Jesus with fresh eyes (no “namby-pamby” or “sissie” stuff allowed).
(If anyone has information on Edward Lofstrom please let me know.)