Standing there in the garden at the heart of the True Narnia, Tirian couldn't help but feel somewhat overwhelmed. It was just impossible to let it all sink in. It was a whole new dimension to reality – every experience he'd ever had in the shadow of Narnia that he'd left behind on the other side of the stable door felt dull and lifeless compared to the sheer amazement that he still couldn't contain. His eyes shifted to the castle Cair Paravel off in the distance, and a small smile crept onto his face. Even that held more meaning, more significance, more beauty than he ever remembered it having before. Every stone, every leaf, every blade of grass in this place felt like it meant something important. There were hardly words to describe it. It was all just so... awe-inspiring.
The last King of Narnia was soon pulled from his thoughts, however, by a soft voice from just behind him. "It's quite a lot to take in, isn't it?"
Turning, Tirian found himself looking at the smiling face of the Queen Lucy. Then again, ever since they'd entered this place, that smile hadn't seemed to fade at all, so it wasn't all that surprising. Tirian couldn't help but return it as he nodded. "Quite a lot indeed. I cannot remember having felt anything even remotely close to this before."
The queen laughed softly at Tirian's words. "So many things I wondered about back in my world and in yours are so clear to me now. And other things that I thought I understood perfectly, I am now discovering my understanding is but a small part of the truth."
Tilting his head slightly, Tirian's face took on an expression that belied his faint puzzlement. "I am afraid I may be missing your meaning, fair lady. Would it be too much to ask for you to explain a bit further?"
Lucy's face lit up as she shook her head slightly. "Oh, I would be more than delighted to. I find this all so exciting, I can barely keep it all to myself. In fact, one thing that I always wondered about is finally starting to become clear, and it brings me such joy."
"And what might that thing be?"
"Why you had Christmas in your world. It didn't have the same significance in yours as it did in mine, and ever since I thought of that fact I've wondered why it was in Narnia as well."
Tirian was clearly not expecting such an answer. "Christmas? I'm afraid that I am even more confused now than I was before."
"Well, let's sit down. It's a bit of a long story, but it's one I just love to tell."
Nodding a bit, Tirian gestured over for Lucy to take a seat. She smiled at him as she did so, and Tirian had to return it as he sat as well. "What do you mean by significance, milady?"
Lucy fell quiet for a moment as she decided on a starting point. "I suppose I have to go back to one of my own adventures in Narnia to give you a good explanation. Do you remember the stories of Caspian the Tenth and his voyage to the end of the world?"
Tirian nodded to the question. "I do indeed."
The queen gave a small nod. "That is where my tale needs to begin – at the very end of that voyage. At least, the end of it for my cousin, my brother and myself."
All Tirian could do was give a small nod as he fell silent, wondering what Queen Lucy would tell him. None of the histories recorded what happened after she, King Edmund and Eustace had departed with Reepicheep, as nobody really knew except for them. As well as he knew his history and the tale of Caspian the Tenth's voyage, he was looking forward to what the Queen was about to add.
She continued in a soft voice, and there was an element of mystery and wonder that belied her own feelings of the experience. "Aslan appeared to us there, and that was when he told me and my brother that we would not return to Narnia. I am... sure you can perhaps imagine how we felt at that news. But it wasn't Narnia that we were going to miss, so much as Aslan himself, and we told him so. It was then that he told us something surprising – that he was present in our own world as well, and that by knowing him here, we would be able to find him in our own world."
Lucy smiled as Tirian's face registered his astonishment at the statement. "That's about what Edmund's face looked like. I can only imagine what mine did... I'm sure Ed would be quite happy to tell you should you ask him. Well, it wasn't long after that that we discovered just who Aslan was in our world. And that is where Christmas begins to come into my tale."
"I'm afraid I'm once again missing your meaning, milady."
Laughing lightly, Lucy could only smile yet again. "I'm getting to that. You remember how I told you that even in our world a stable once held something that was bigger than the whole world?"
"I do indeed. And ever since you said I have wondered what you meant by it... as much because of the way you said it as because of the curious nature of it."
"That something was Aslan himself. Except he wasn't a lion then. He was a little baby boy, born in a stable."
Tirian blinked. That was certainly not what he was expecting. The great and mighty Aslan, all the awesome might and power and glory, reduced to a little baby? "I am finding myself more confused than ever, I must admit."
Lucy gave the king a gentle and patient smile. "Then let me explain further. You see, Aslan was indeed in our world, but he didn't come as a lion. He came as one of us, a human. And like all of us, he didn't just appear, he was born. And in our world, Christmas is a celebration of that day so long ago when he became a man, when he came to our world as a little baby born in a stable."
Tilting his head a bit, Tirian gave a small nod. "I think I am beginning to understand your confusion in why Christmas is a part of Narnia as well now... though I cannot see how you may have come to an answer."
The queen laughed softly as she continued. "I shall continue, then. Do you remember how Aslan died to save my brother Edmund back in the time of the White Witch?"
"I remember that part of the story well, milady."
"Well, in our world, he did something similar. Except he didn't die to save one person. He died to save everyone who would let him."
For the first time during their conversation, Lucy's cheerful demeanor faltered for a bit. She continued on in a softer and somewhat more serious voice. "You see, in my world, we all had done things that were... well, traitorous, so to speak, to Him. And as such, we all deserved death. But he, as he did here in Narnia for my brother, came to our world, and died for the sake of all the people of the world. It's difficult to fathom, but he did."
Tirian fell quiet, still not understanding fully but at least grasping the gravity of the situation. He simply waited for Lucy to continue, which she did after a brief pause.
"He was brutally treated... oh, I don't even like to speak about it. I was there when the Witch killed Aslan, but in our world... it is hard for me to even read about. I cannot imagine what I would have done had I actually seen it..." Her voice trailed off, and it seemed to take a moment for her to collect herself again.
Then she did one of the last things Tirian might have expected at this point. She smiled broadly.
"Oh, but like Aslan did here, he came back to life! After three days in a tomb, he conquered death and rose up! And he paid the price for all who choose to let him! He is the Savior of our world, the light that shines in the darkness that covers it." Her eyes shone as she spoke, barely able to contain her joy at these words.
And as she spoke them, Tirian felt something akin to what he had felt when he had first seen Aslan. There was so much more to what she was saying than just her words. He felt that he would never understand what Lucy was talking about as much as she did, but even so, he felt a sense of joy and wonder. Before he could find words to quite express what he was feeling, though, Lucy continued.
"It was thinking about that fact that made me realize why Christmas is in Narnia as well. It's not just about Him coming to our world as a baby in a stable. It's a celebration to remember the hope that He brings, to remember what a joy it is to live the way He would want you to, to remember to have faith in Him and the hope and the love that He gives those that he calls His own. And that is something that can be celebrated in Narnia as well as in my world."
Tirian smiled as he gave the queen a small nod. "That it can."
Lucy gave another one of her soft laughs as she stood. "And now that I am here with Him, I can rejoice in all that He has done for me for all of my days. It's like I can celebrate Christmas every day."
Tirian laughed himself. "Then a happy Christmas to you, milady."
Lucy only smiled. "And the same to you."
A/N: I feel like I'm taking a big risk with this one, but the plot bunny just wouldn't leave me alone. It seems to me that eventually something like this conversation would have taken place in the True Narnia. I felt these two would be the perfect characters to have such a talk, and this season seemed especially appropriate. As a Christian myself, I just had to get this out of my system. May you all have a wonderful Christmas, remember what this season is truly about, and feel the love of the Lion.