24 December 2013
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
- Psalm 84.2
The image of longing. It is like a photograph of someone standing on the edge of a mountain looking out across the dappled landscape. The fog rolls in, but then rises quickly to reveal the path. What would life look like if we had no longing for anything? If we did not long for certain things, we would have no reason to hope or look forward to the great good that is coming (to borrow a phrase from George MacDonald).
C.S. Lewis realized from a very young age (in reading all his favourite myths) that he longed for something that could not be satisfied by anything here. And that led to the eventual discovery of what he truly longed for- our true home in heaven - through his friendships with the Inklings at Oxford and their deep discussions about myth and reality (and how Christianity is the myth that is real). Throughout his writings, Lewis refers to that longing a lot, using the German word sehnsucht.
Originally Lewis thought his longings were not worthy of being noted, until a conversation with Owen Barfield (an Inkling, of course) changed his mind to where he exclaimed, "Our best havings are wantings."
This is one small example, but his books are full of the concept of longing. See The Weight of Glory, Mere Christianity, The Four Loves, Narnia, etc....This season, Christmas, is a season of longing for many things. The anticipation and arrival of Jesus being the foremost. And soon enough the start of a new year begins longings for the old to be made new. Look into those longings with a view of the eternal. Let them sink deeper than your skin.