Meeting at the Lamp Post: Bringing Narnia's Truths Home
- Gina Burkart Author of <i>A Parent's Guide to Harry Potter</i>
- 2005 12 Dec
Snow Covered Footsteps
Last Christmas, our family decided to take a snowy walk after filling our bellies with Christmas dinner. The billowy snowflakes combined with the dim haze of the moon created just the right effect — it seemed as though we had crossed into a fictional world. I hadn’t quite placed which world when my son pointed out the lamp post at the end of the road and said "Mom, doesn’t this remind you of Narnia." His little face lit up as we remembered the magical land of Narnia and felt for a brief moment as though we were there — and who is to say we weren’t.
One of the beauties of fantasy stories is that they find you when you least expect it. A connection you made when you were younger, in a far away place, reaches out and whispers "remember me." You are whisked away just when you need it most. That is what the lamp post did for us. It reminded us of the time we spent as a family reading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. We re-embarked on adventures through the wardrobe and fittingly discussed how Narnia had awaited Aslan’s coming — much as we had just spent Advent awaiting Jesus’ birth. We reflected on the gifts that Father Christmas had brought Peter, Susan, and Lucy, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. What did these gifts signify? What spiritual gifts have we been given? Our discussions became deep and intense, as the wintery cold was forgotten.
The children’s gifts reached far beyond materialism. They prepared them for a battle of good and evil yet to come. There was great rejoicing as Aslan’s arrival brought life to a dead land. Could you imagine never-ending winter and no Christmas? My children surely could not.
As we turned the bend and walked beyond the lamp post on the corner, each of us tried to ponder which character we related to most. As the oldest of nine children, I could relate to Susan. My oldest daughter also related to Susan. We tend to be the planners — the gentle and practical guiders of the family. We remember the rules, our manners, and mediate when need be. Susan advises the children to wear coats from the wardrobe, intervenes between Peter and Edmund, and remembers to compliment Mr. Beaver on his dam.
All of us could see the youngest child in our family as Lucy. She is curious, imaginative, fun-loving, and strong-willed, yet always ready to serve and tend to the needs of others. Lucy shares her potion with Edmund, readily forgives her siblings, yet always listens to the imaginative, intuitive voice alive in her soul. She follows birds, listens to nature, and follows her instincts. While she is the youngest, she is often the wisest. Of course, my husband quickly pointed out that he is the youngest of his family also.
Our son, and eldest child, related to Peter. They both share a brave and courageous spirit that embraces challenge. Cool and level-headed, they tend to speak their minds honestly with disregard for others’ feelings.
Family Healing and Loyalty
Not surprisingly, no one wanted to relate to Edmund. Yet, there is a lesson in this. Honestly, I believe we all have a little Edmund in us. And this perhaps opens the most necessary conversation that Narnia leads us to revisit time and time again. Our selfish desires of ego, power, and greed often cut us off from the ones who love us most — our family. Edmund, caught up in himself, sinned and distanced himself from Peter, Susan, and Lucy. He jeopardized the lives of those he loved most of all. This separation became even greater by Peter’s harsh judging and reprimands of Edmund. Peter’s words and actions sealed Edmund’s betrayal. How often does this type of feuding occur in our families? If your family is like mine, it happens daily.
Aslan, like Christ, brought the children back together in forgiveness. He brought healing, peace and love back to their family, so that they could work together in harmony when he tells Peter, Susan, and Lucy "Here is your brother, and there is no need to talk to him about what is past." They all shook hands and said "I’m sorry. . . . That’s all right." We too must learn this lesson. Forgiving and forgetting helps us heal. It keeps our families united, so that we can all join together with our larger Christian family and prepare for Jesus’ second coming.
Aslan brought hope to Narnia, as Christ has brought hope to us. Aslan overcame death and forgave Edmund his sins; Christ died for us, so we could be forgiven and have the gift of eternal life. Aslan returned to free Narnia from the White Witch; Christ will return and lead us to his Kingdom that he has prepared for us. He will free us from the pain and suffering of this earth.
And here Christmas finds us again. Snow is piling up outside, and I am once again reminded of Narnia, as we plan to watch Disney’s version of The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe unfold on the big screen. A year has gone by, and yes, we have had our battles and struggles. We have fought, cried, loved, and grown. As I drove by the lamp post today, I couldn’t help but wonder where the wardrobe will lead us this year. Where will it lead your family?
Burkart is a freelance writer and editor, and teaches at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA. She is the author of A Parent's Guide to Harry Potter (Inter Varsity Press).
More articles on C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia:
Despite a Few Distractions, "Narnia" Wows
Christian Themes Suffused in C.S. Lewis' Beloved Narnia Tale
Books to Help You Go Beyond Narnia
Kids' Book Roars with Life Lessons from "Narnia"