Since I was a child I have always had a deep love for books. Before I could read I was memorizing the words on the page. My mother has recounted stories to me of trips to the library where I’d pick out the same book and take it home – I would make her read it to me over and over; And by read it to me I mean I would ask her to turn the pages while I recited the lines I had memorized. Over the years I’ve read my fair share of books, different genres and themes and I’ve collected a few favourites along my literary journey. But you see there is one book that has always been my favourite, one book that just stands out against the rest. I have memories of it sitting in the top right hand corner of my desk at school – ready and available for me to reach out and dive into as soon as the recess bell rang. I have memories of reading the entire series, not once but twice, memories of staying up late and reading till my eyes began to fade and sleep overtook me. Memories of thinking “C.S. Lewis – how did you come up with this masterpiece?”
C.S Lewis has written his fair share of worthy titles. He’s written books about grief and suffering, books about Christianity and his journey from atheism to faith – but his most incredible book (in my humble opinion) is a novel about a magical snow covered world discovered by 4 young children who embark on a journey to save the lands inhabitants by conquering the White Witch. This novel, “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe”, published in 1950, has become a well-known and highly praised novel in the world of children’s literature. Not only do the main characters embody heroism and bravery but their journey throughout Narnia is one of epic proportions.
As a child I read this book with such awe and excitement – I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and I couldn’t wait to get to the end but also never wanted the story to finish. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this book (I actually can’t – I’ve read it and re-read it so many times I’ve officially lost count) but as I’ve grown up the story has changed and transformed before my eyes. I will always love the adventure and the thrill of what the children are embarking on but each time I read the story I realize there is so much more going on in this book. C.S Lewis has not merely written a great story – every word on every page points to something beyond the book, something bigger than what the binding can contain. The narrative is enticing – a story of good vs. evil, of heartbreak and tragedy but also full of celebration and surprise.
Narnia is magical, it’s enticing and beautiful and when you read about it you are immediately transported there. But Narnia is not just some fictional place where the story takes place. Narnia represents something bigger than just a location. Narnia is a world that serves to be a parallel to our own. As an adult we read the story and realize the truth of it all is jumping off the page – it’s obvious and yet so incredibly subtle. This book is a story about faith, sacrifice and the perfect rendition of love.
C.S Lewis wrote that “The Narnian books are not as much allegory as supposal. Suppose there were a Narnian world and it, like ours, needed redemption. What kind of incarnation and passion might Christ be supposed to undergo there?” The entire novel is written as a parallel to our world and the sacrifice Jesus made for each and every one of us. As you read through the story you discover more about God’s heart for us, we see how incredibly powerful he is through this allegorical representation of him and we discover with new eyes the deep and unconditional love He has for us.
I’m making the month of December a “Narnia” themed month (and you won’t believe how excited I am about that)! I’ll be doing a Book Review of the “Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” at the beginning of the month as well as reviewing “A Family Guide to The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” by Christin Ditchfield, which is a study book designed for you and your family to read alongside the novel. It provides scripture that highlights the main biblical concepts in each chapter and gives you and your family some interesting things to consider and talk about as you read the book.
The other thing I’ll be doing this month is tracking with a new book called “Advent in Narnia, Reflections for the Season” – It’s an advent book themed all around Narnia with quotes from the book as well as scripture verses. As I read through it I’ll post interesting quotes or even share some helpful discussion and reflection questions that appear at the end of each entry. I’m hoping these resources serve you, your communities and your families well this Christmas season and that over the month of December you not only fall in love with this book but you fall in love with Jesus all over again because of it.