By Jessie Arabik 

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”  C.S. Lewis wrote this as the first line of his book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, in his classic style.  The first line of a great book pulls us in, gets us interested, makes us invested in the story and the outcome.  It’s where we start to care about the characters and the author as if they were real people among us.  What will happen next?  How will the plot unfold?  Where will the story end?

Christmas is the best first line of all time.  When we think about the manger, we also contemplate the cross.  When we consider the cross, we reflect on Easter morning.  The evolution of the story is filled with promise and hope because it’s the first small step of a long journey that both begins and ends in the glory of Heaven.  The angels singing at Bethlehem are a precursor to the end of time, where all of creation will be focused on the perpetual worship of God.


How does the author craft the perfect opening line?  Maybe it’s the element of surprise – a mighty, eternal king born in a small town in an unpretentious stable.   Perhaps it’s the setting – a time in history where a people were desperately awaiting a savior, but unable to recognize Him outside their own narrow perspective.  Or could it be the poetry?  A humble Sovereign who, by any means necessary, will come to set His people free from self-imposed slavery.  Only the Author, standing outside the timeline of the story He writes, can see both the beginning and the end and therefore know how to craft the perfectly effective opening line.

Do we see ourselves through the lens of this story?  We should.  We call ourselves Christians because we identify ourselves so strongly as belonging to the Christmas story.  If we can see ourselves as part of this narrative, then we have truly integrated our faith into our everyday life.  We have made the Christmas story our own, and with it, the Easter miracle and everything that follows.  Merry Christmas!

Photos courtesy of Catholic News Service