My teenage daughter was given an English assignment to write a short story for Christmas this year. Her end result was a letter patterned after C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters, where Screwtape gives instructions to his newphew Wormwood concerning Christmas. I thought I'd share it with everyone:
My dearest Wormwood –
As you know, one of our top two most unpleasant times of the year is upon us. That being true, I felt a need to write and remind you of certain tasks that are incumbent upon you to perform with your assigned family.
This year, our objectives and tactics regarding the Enemy remain mostly the same. Sadly, our mission continues to be complicated by those the world thinks actually helps our operation.
For example, once again, the atheists are erecting billboards decrying Christmas. While the Enemy’s followers are enraged by this, they have no idea that we hate it more. As history has shown, and as our operatives in places like China report, the Enemy’s movement never thrives more than when it is persecuted. It is much more preferable to us if the Enemy’s message is not highlighted by those who disavow Him, but rather we want His proclamation to be drowned out by other religious babble and – of course – the strong draw of materialism that envelops everyone at this time of year.
In the same way, you are to push everyone under your care toward “things” instead of Him. Further, you are to direct your assignees to think mostly if not completely about themselves and no one else. Not other family members, friends, and especially those who are suffering emotionally during this dreaded time of year. How thankful we are that Christmas hurts so many!
In addition, as I have told you before, you must inflict on your family as much irritation, busyness, anxiety, frustration, and resentment towards others as you can. You should apply the most pressure the day before your family celebrates our Enemy’s human birth, right before they attend their Christmas Eve service.
If you cannot convince them that it is better to forgo their (sigh) worship, then by all means do everything in your power to make them late and as unpleasant as possible. The reason, as you well know, is that many humans only attend our Enemy’s house of worship on our two most hated days. Their culture refers to these people as “Creasters” – those who just go to the Enemy’s gatherings on Christmas and Easter.
The very last thing we want is for this part of the human population to encounter true followers of the Enemy who are kind and full of joy on that night. Instead, we want them to leave the building with the idea that the Enemy’s people are rather repugnant and less attractive than others that they know who are not in the Enemy’s camp. As I have told all of you many times, the best witness we have for our cause are those who have, at a surface level, sworn allegiance to our Enemy but act contrary to His teaching most or all of the time.
And so, it is on that note that I end and wish you a very productive and Merry Christmas!
- Your Uncle Screwtape.