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Since You Asked: C.S. Lewis not fond of gift-filled Christmas

Did C. S. Lewis, the author of the Narnia chronicles, really hate Christmas? I seem to remember reading this somewhere. Seems strange for the deeply religious man who wrote "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

— Rodney T., Medford

The passage you're thinking of is probably this one, Rodney, excerpted from "God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics":

Three things go by the name of Christmas. One is a religious festival. This is important and obligatory for Christians; but as it can be of no interest to anyone else, I shall naturally say no more about it here.

The second (it has complex historical connections with the first, but we needn't go into them) is a popular holiday, an occasion for merry-making and hospitality.

But the third thing called Christmas is unfortunately everyone's business ... I mean of course the commercial racket.

Lewis then listed further thoughts about the "commercial racket":

It gives on the whole much more pain than pleasure.

Most of it is involuntary.

Things are given as presents which no mortal ever bought for himself.

The nuisance.

C.S. (Clive Staples) Lewis was baptized as a boy in the Church of Ireland, lost his faith as a young man and re-converted at about age 30 to become a self-described "very ordinary layman of the Church of England." He was known for his brusque wit.

Lewis died one week before his 65th birthday on Nov. 22, 1963, the same date as "brave New World" author Aldous Huxley died. Both deaths, of course, were overshadowed by the assassination that day of President John F. Kennedy.

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