Toys Made Real (Thoughts from "Mere Christianity")

Come to Life
I remember pretending with my raggedy, stuffed “Donkey” friend long past a socially-acceptable age. Even when his stuffing started spilling out, I sheltered him far away from where Mama could reach the attic.

Perhaps it was because I read and re-read Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit, Or How Toys Become Real. The Rabbit doesn’t quite understand “real,” so the Horse, who has already become real himself, explains:

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
~ THE VELVETEEN RABBIT

Likewise, it is only because God REALLY loves us that he brings us to “Real” or Zoe life. Any other way of living is imitation.

Show Me Real

But like the Rabbit, how can we understand Real, when we’re not? We need someone already Real to explain it to us.

And Jesus did. He not only explained it, he demonstrated it. As C. S. Lewis so aptly states in Book IV of Mere Christianity:
The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus inside a Woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.
~ MERE CHRISTIANITY
Jesus humbly entered our shadow world to show us what being Real is all about. He showed us Truth and Life.

And the process to become Real? It's the Way, Jesus himself, because he REALLY loves us.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Are All Toys Real?

But if God loves everybody, why isn’t everybody Real? Why don’t all the toys come to life?

Because only the toys that believe they can be made Real are made so.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. John 6:47

Perhaps Lewis read The Velveteen Rabbit, too. In his “Chapter 5: The Obstinate Toy Soldiers” of Mere Christianity, his toy soldiers, unlike the Rabbit, fight the process of becoming Real and prefer to remain toys.

Which is more realistic? To desire to be Real, or to fight against it?

We see both types. To cross over into Real, we first have to voluntarily die to our old man. Not all agree to do that, or see the advantage of it, or listen to the Father calling us to it. They prefer the temporary fun in fake, unaware of the everlasting revelry in Real.

But those who do accept God’s love, change. As from a stone statue to a breathing man.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10b
A man who changed from having Bios to having Zoe would have gone through as big a change as a statue which changed from being a carved stone to being a real man. And that is precisely what Christianity is all about. This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumor going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.
~ MERE CHRISTIANITY
At the end of The Velveteen Rabbit, the Rabbit was made real:
Instead of dingy velveteen he had brown fur, soft and shiny, his ears twitched by themselves, and his whiskers were so long that they brushed the grass. He gave one leap and the joy of using those hind legs was so great that he went springing about the turf on them, jumping sideways and whirling round as the others did, and he grew so excited.
~ THE VELVETEEN RABBIT

Me, too. I’ve been made Real.

[Others' thoughts from Book IV of “Mere Christianity”]

2 comments:

Laurie M. said...

Delightful!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. The Velveteen Rabbit is just lovely and thought provoking.

What priorities should men chase after in this life? Is outward beauty the most important thing for women? We know the right answers to those questions but in everyday life what is rewarded by the people of this world.

So thankful for the difference Jesus makes in our hearts and lives. Merry Christmas!

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