Operation Narnia Gives Hope This Christmas
By Andy Argyrakis, senior editor, gmclife.com
Between its time in book and big screen formats, C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia is amongst the most treasured series of all time. With timeless morality-based messages, plenty of adventure, remarkably witty literary prose and even more powerful theatrical production qualities, it’s easy to see why audiences of all ages and walks of life have resonated with the tales, though regardless of the format, each story remains grounded in truth.
The latest to hit the silver screen is The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third overall title in the fantasy epic but first to be filmed in 3D format. As a result, colorful characters like Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, plus their cousin Eustace, leap to life after being swallowed by a painting and taken aboard the giant Dawn Treader ship. Along the way, they meet up with the mighty King Caspian, a warrior mouse named Reepicheep and the “Great Lion” Aslan, all while battling temptations and enemies in hopes of preserving Narnia’s overall fate.
Introducing Operation Narnia
"We hope that through this partnership, Narnia fans help give Christmas to needy children around the world," says Michael Flaherty, co-president of Walden Media.
“Early this year, some members of the leadership team from Operation Christmas Child were invited by the studio for feedback and impression of the film, particularly how fans of Narnia could put their faith into action,” recalls Operation Christmas Child director Randy Riddle of the unique tag team’s beginnings. “We came to the conclusion that fans of the Narnia movies and of C.S. Lewis’ writings in general may also be interested in Operation Christmas Child as an example to do just that.”
Faith in Action
“When our characters first came into Narnia, it was always winter and never Christmas [but] thanks to Aslan, that’s now changed,” observes actress Georgie Henley, who plays Lucy Pevensie, during a video blog to fans on Operation Narnia’s website. “For 20 years, Operation Christmas Child has been making sure that millions of children each year get to experience Christmas. Working together, our goal is to give gifts this Christmas to more than 8 million children around the world, but we need your help. Please consider making a box for a needy child. It’s easy and it’s fun. Together, let’s make the best Christmas ever...”
Gifts Meet the Gospel
“In addition to adventure and the whimsical nature of C.S. Lewis, the themes throughout The Chronicles of Narnia include redemption, salvation and the ability to overcome difficult circumstances,” relates Riddle. “We believe it’s a great fit with Narnia because it lends itself towards giving, and in turn, we can share the message of God giving us the greatest gift in His son Jesus.”
Even more important than the presents themselves are the tracts containing Gospel messages that accompany each package. And those boxes and booklets aren’t just handed out blindly to children, but rather the first phase of a discipleship program led by local pastors and evangelists in their respective countries to cultivate a deeper faith amongst recipients. Perhaps Samaritan’s Purse president Franklin Graham puts it best in this year’s official mission statement behind the project: “We want children around the world to know the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of Jesus Christ – and the joy and hope that this brings.”
Aside from Operation Narnia fostering that spirit this Christmas, Samaritan’s Purse will continue providing relief assistance all across the world as situations arise. For instance in 2010, it was amongst the first to respond with medical supplies following Haiti’s monstrous earthquake. “We were able to build more than 10,000 temporary shelters that housed up to 80,000 people,” adds Riddle. “Whenever there’s a natural disaster or a man made crisis, you can find Samaritan’s Purse reaching out to locals in the name of Jesus.”
About the Writer
Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, IllinoisEntertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, MTV.com and Vibe.com. He’s also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel’s very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).
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