Myth Became Reality
If we open our hearts to it, there’s something about the Christmas story of God becoming one of us in order to give his life to save us that resonates with us in the core of our being. If we are not dulled by over-familiarity, hearing this story feels a bit like recalling a long forgotten dream. It reconnects us with something we’ve lost along the way, something we’ve perhaps given up on, something we’ve forgotten. It connects us with a primordial dream that resides in the center of our soul.
Throughout history, and in a multitude of different cultures, people have given mythological expression to this primordial dream. This is why some ancient myths faintly echo the Christmas story. Yet, as C.S. Lewis noted, the thing that most sets the Christmas story apart from these ancient myths is that we have compelling reasons to believe that the Christmas story actually happened in history (see Boyd, Eddy, Lord or Legend). Hence, Lewis argued that in Christ, myth became reality.
What he means is that Christ is the historical truth to which the vaguely similar ancient myths point, for Christ is the truth we have always dreamed about. The unsurpassable love of God that Christ reveals resonates with our soul’s deepest intuitions about reality and answers our soul’s deepest longings. In fact, the story of Jesus is the greatest love story that could ever be told, for it’s the story of a Creator God who was will to go to the furthest extreme possible – even becoming our sin and our curse – to rescue his undeserving beloved. So with good reason, Lewis claims that the story of Jesus is simultaneously the greatest myth ever told and the greatest fact of history.
This Advent season, I encourage us to reconnect with the deepest longings of our heart and allow them to drive us to the one who alone can fulfill them. Fully embrace the one you’ve always dreamed of. Give yourself over to the one in whom myth became reality.