Screwtape Christmas: Don't Let His Attention Wander Upwards
Our main goal is to separate the patient from the Enemy and inch him closer to our dinner table. Anything that lifts him upwards toward the Christmas spirit—what a dreadful thing—must be diverted. Anything that flips this upside down, so that the members rise above the Head, is to be cultivated.
They have the loathsome tradition of cutting down trees, at least that part I like, and putting them up in their homes. At the very top of the tree they put a star. My dear Wormwood, think of your devilish duty like this: your mission is to get that star and flip it upside down. Then it becomes a pentagram. The head of the star is beneath all the members. That’s our true work. Our aim is to get the humans to put their belly above their head, to raise their pleasures higher than their principles. Their head is their God, and while we cannot get rid of Him, we can at least tempt them to lift other things in His place.
The gifts must go above the Giver. They must obey their lusts rather than their Lord. They must not use them to get to Him, but use Him to get to them. That’s the vapid glory of the pentagram.
You’re not doing us any favors by increasing the patient’s love of all the jolly Christmas trappings, for our Enemy can use any custom or pleasure or vintage of wine, if it is seen to be connected to Him. So, we must sever the connection, if possible, but if not, then we must get the patient to focus on the connection itself, rather than following it to its Source.
This, of course, was the favorite metaphor of one of the Enemy’s so-called poets and apologists, a second-rate man who went by the initials C. S., the coward, whom I despise for the reconnaissance work he did during the Second World War to expose us to millions of people. How he got a hold of those letters, I'll never know.
Instead of his bit about the ‘light beam and light,’ I much prefer the metaphor of bait and hook. Get your patient to focus on only the bait and he’ll see neither our hook nor line that we’ll use to pull him straight down to our dark feast, where we’ll gorge our guts on his vitals, binge his blood, and warm ourselves by his stacked bones on the fire.
Don’t let the trappings of Christmas lead the patient toward the Enemy, but away from Him by getting the patient to focus on them rather than looking through them to Him.