Mary had a little lamb… That expression always summed up the idea of Christmas to me. That is, until one year when I went to the movies with my sons.
We went to see the Chronicles of Narnia, and we got one of those large popcorns and an enormous drink to share. The place was filling up, and my boys had to run to the bathroom before the movie started. I told them to go ahead and make a run for it, and that I would hold the seats for them. Once they got back, I’d go.
One of the boys said, “Dad, put down the popcorn or we’ll eat it before the show.” Good idea. I set the bucket-sized bag on the floor.
When I got back from the bathroom, I picked up the popcorn and started to dig in. My son said, “Uh, Dad… we had a problem with the popcorn.”
“Oh yeah?” I said, munching away. “What’s that?”
“Well, you set it too close to the seat in front of us, and when the guy sat down he knocked it over.”
I looked down and noticed that there wasn’t any popcorn on the ground. I looked at the bag and noticed it seemed to still be full.
“Tell me you didn’t put the popcorn back into the bag.”
“Uh, yes. Yes we did.”
Suddenly, I was struck with a montage of every foot that walked that aisle, every restroom and parking lot that each of those shoes visited. I imagined every grimy germ in electron-microscope detail clinging to the pieces of popcorn I had already eaten.
I swallowed. “Guys,” I said, my voice surprisingly level, “you don’t put the popcorn back in if it touches the floor. How much spilled?”
“Not a whole lot. Maybe a handful.”
“Just a handful?”
So we ate it. Hey! A large popcorn is about four and a half bucks!
Although later they did tell me that it was actually a lot more than a handful. Man, we do such stupid things.
Narnia was a great movie. You know, there is the powerful allegory of the lion and Jesus. The story of Narnia is about redemption, and the key to understanding the movie is to realize that Aslan the lion is really Jesus.
As I watched the movie, God gave me a new insight. I tend to view Jesus as a lamb. He was our sacrifice for sin, after all. No doubt. He was Mary’s little lamb that takes away the sins of the world. But He’s also Mary’s little lion.
Revelation 5:5, “and one of the elders said to me, ‘Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.'”
We mess up in so many ways. Sometimes we’ll even spill popcorn on the floor and still eat it! In spite of all our dumb mistakes, this mighty lion was willing to lay down his life like a sheep as a sacrifice for us. There was so much power at his disposal, but he laid it all down to make up for our errors.
For some reason, this image has stuck with me in a way that is more powerful than any nativity set. Popcorn on the filthy ground, and a lion on the screen.