15th December 2023 – David Witchell


It seemed as if we had wandered through the doors of a magical wardrobe into a mysterious land. No, it wasn’t Narnia. But memories of the Covid lockdown have flooded back with the present news coverage of the UK Covid Enquiry into the handling of the pandemic. The silent streets, closed public buildings, and faces covered by masks now look like some bad dream from which we have awoken, unless you are still sadly suffering a living nightmare resulting from this global disaster.

C S Lewis, the Christian thinker and writer who died 60 years ago last month, author of ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, told the story for children – and adults! – of the Land of Narnia, ruled by the white witch, where it was always winter but never Christmas. When four children stumble into this fantasy land through the back of a wardrobe the spell is finally broken, and the great lion Aslan is to return to defeat the witch, and usher in Christmas and Spring.

Winter, but never Christmas. It can seem like this today in our wonderful but troubled world.

The coronavirus is so called because under the microscope it visibly resembles a crown, a corona in Latin. A crown is a symbol of authority, and certainly this virus had colossal power over us in what it did to millions of people throughout the world. It reminded us of our vulnerability.

But the coronavirus will not have the last word. Hope is to be found in another corona, for it is Jesus Christ who wears the true crown. He is the real, though often unrecognised, world authority.

As we ring for our carol and crib services, and the midnight and Christmas Day services, we are proclaiming loudly and clearly that though winter, it is Christmas. We are inviting people to come and celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, the One who wears the true crown, and who indeed can break the power of sin and darkness, who alone can offer us peace with our personal God and upholder of the universe.


Ringer at St Mary’s Wolborough, 
Newton Abbot