I was an eight year old child, waiting with my family in the Montreal Train station. We’d left our Nova Scotian home a week before to visit with my Father’s Montreal family. We were soon to board a train for Trenton, Ontario – and a few days later, an Air Force plane would take us to Europe to live.
An announcement came over the PA system in the train station. I missed it – perhaps it was in French. My father walked off to find out more. He returned quickly, “The President has been shot.” Kennedy was a media hero to all of us – Canadian or American. Dad left again, only to return later, “He’s passed away.”
Our last few days in Canada were spent watching the events unfold on TV – John John’s salute etched into the memories of us all. But another man, also nick-named Jack, passed away on the same day. His death a mere footnote in the coverage of Jack Kennedy’s assassination. But this other Jack’s life would end up having a much greater impact on my own.
He was Irish born and raised – but came to fame at Oxford. A distinguished scholar, he is perhaps best known for his children’s writings – that ring real in the ears of millions of children – fancy-filled tales of lands of mystery and imagination. But those weren’t the worlds that drew me.
I responded to the writings that saw him dubbed, The Apostle to the Skeptics. Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters, Till We Have Faces -confronted me with the reality of another mysterious world – the Kingdom of God. Mere Christianity was given to me in 1982 by my now long-time friend, Christopher – and it’s arguments on the person of Jesus are still convincing.
This Christmas, children will be enthralled by Narnia, the work for which C.S. Lewis is most famous. Perhaps the retelling will be as powerful as that of the stories of his friend, Tolkien’s, Lord of the Rings. My hope is that people will wonder about the man behind Narnia – the one who realized Aslan truly is on the move. I hope that like me, they will read Jack’s writings – and be surprised by joy in the process.
[Tom Guarriello’s post prompted this one.]