"A little way off at the foot of a tree sat a merry party ... 'What is the meaning of this?' asked the Witch Queen. Nobody answered. 'Speak, vermin!' she said again. 'Or do you want my dwarf to find you a tongue with his whip? What is the meaning of all this gluttony, this waste, this self-indulgence? Where did you get all these things?' (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).
"Enemy-occupied territory – that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage" (Mere Christianity).
"Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labour of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls – yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation" (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
For many people, and for many reasons, this year has been miserable. I understand and feel that, but I want to appeal to my fellow Christians not to surrender to misery. The “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), the devil, wants us to elevate created things to the position of the Creator, and to make our joy dependent on our circumstances. When we do that we are acting as if there is no God, no salvation and no eternity, and this world is all there is.
One of the most powerful and heroic acts of warfare a Christian soldier can engage in is to look at all the sadness, horror and tragedy, and say, “yet I will rejoice . . .” This is not to minimise suffering, or to be insensitive to sufferers, but it is an insistence that Satan is not in control and it won’t always be like this. God is in control, and all will be well, and I have so much to be thankful for – I will rejoice.
The White Witch in Narnia was furious to see feasting and rejoicing during her reign. Where did they get all these good things? It certainly wasn’t from her. They had been supplied from an outside source. So, when the Christian sits amid the devastation, then gets up and praises God and has a feast of joy, it demands the question, “Where did you get all these things?” The source of our joy is God and the salvation He has given us – nothing can touch that.
So, yes, 2020 has been hard, it has brought huge loss and heartbreak, but don’t bow to the tyrant’s demand to be miserable. A broken heart can still sing and a tear-stained face can still shine. God is still good, Christ still lives and I am His – I am going to rejoice.