I think it’s fair to say that Lewis’s main goal in life was to focus on the elements common to orthodox (small “o”) Christianity. But it seems that his knowledge of Eastern Orthodoxy came towards the latter part of his life, due in large part, perhaps, to his friendship with Nicholas Zernov, a Russian Orthodox professor at Oxford. Zernov published a magazine called Sobornost’, which promoted unity between Anglicans and Orthodox. Lewis’s essay, “Membership” (from “Transposition and Other Essays”) was actually first published in that journal. So in that connection, I wanted to post a Christmas meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”:
Scripture: “Glory to God in the highest, and peace and good will among men” (Luke: 2, 14)
The feast of the Nativity has an important place in the life of the whole world. Throughout the world, wherever the name of Christ is proclaimed, this great day is celebrated, and every year, with every repetition of this feast, it brings a fresh wave of love and light. In every house, in every family, preparations for this day take place. Children await it with joyful expectation and parents think about the joy the children will experience. The thought of the Christmas tree fills everyone’s heart.
But we should not forget that Christmas is first of all a holy, divine day, which we honor in remembrance of the boundless love which did not spare His Son in order to save mankind. So in order to welcome and celebrate this day in a worthy manor, everyone should be filled with reverence for the pure image of the Infant Jesus. Without this, the entire meaning of the feast vanishes. In celebrating Christmas let us pray that the spirit of His love awakens and is resurrected in our hearts. Let there be a manger there, prepared to receive Him, and precious gifts ready for Him. The meaning of Christmas is love, peace and good will. And good will is complete forgiveness, a desire for the good of everyone, complete selflessness, and love encompassing all mankind.
Let us strive to celebrate the feast of Christmas the way it should be celebrated. Then in our day the divine miracle will be repeated. Christ will again come to Earth, because His Spirit will dwell in each of us, and angelic songs will constantly sound in our souls, filling them with boundless joy.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)