Charlie is a little boy in R. C. Sproul's allegorical tale for children, The Lightlings. In the book, Charlie asks his grandfather:
"Grandpa, why am I afraid of the dark? And why do so many people I know seem to be afraid of the dark, too?Grandpa's answer comes in the form of a story - a wonderful story about whimsical fairylike beings called lightlings who shine brightly. With them he tells the true story of the Fall of Man. Let me see how well I can narrate the tale...
Grandpa looked at Charlie and said, "That's a very good question. But you know, not only are lots of people afraid of the dark, many people are afraid of the light."
"Afraid of the light?" said Charlie. "Why would that be?"
The lightlings live in a beautiful garden prepared for them by their creator, the great King of Light. One day something terrible happens - the lightlings decide to do what they want to do instead of what their King commands them to do. At the very moment they sin, their lights start to dim and they are filled with great shame. They leave the garden, and hide themselves in the darkest place they can find, away from the King of Light.
The lightlings are now afraid of the light because they know that wherever the light is, there the King will be, and they don't want their King to see them in their shame. The lightlings are forced to feel their way through the forest as if they were blind. They trip and fall. They can no longer tell day from light. It is an awful life.
One day the lightlings see a far off light through the trees. They are afraid, fearful that the King of Light is coming to punish them for their sins. But the light isn't the King. It is a tiny baby lightling - a lightling who is shining like the sun. It is the King's special gift.
The baby is the Son of the King of Light.
The lightlings begin to worship the Son in fear and reverence. When they stand up again their faces are shining too, but their light is not coming from within them - it is a reflection of the light coming out of the baby. They rush home to tell their story. Their light lights the forest once more. They can run without falling.
They are no longer afraid of the light. It is much better than the darkness they've been living in for so long.
The grandfather concludes the story and explains its meaning to both Charlie and the children reading the tale. It works really well.
Jemimah didn't love the story the first time we read it - it grows on you! She certainly understood the simple allegory though, and she continues to ask searching questions on each rereading.
Teaching our kids the truth about Jesus is a huge responsibility and one I take very seriously. I have never read a story that explains the need for redemption so clearly to even the youngest of children.
I thoroughly recommend this book. R. C Sproul is a very clever man.
P.S. It's $43.95 from Koorong.