We are in a really fun season of parenting. Liam and Levi love to read and watch movies. They are finally in a season where we can start working through chapter books. Brittany and I decided to start working our way through the C.S Lewis books. The boys happened to see that the books were made into movies so we started watching the movies. As we we jumped into the story of Narnia, I spent more time watching the reaction of my boys than actually watching the movie. Their eagerness to understand why Edmund would betray his family and even more incredible, their eager anticipation to see this majestic lion named Aslan. There is so much that I was reminded of by watching my boys response throughout the movies, and even more encouraging, I began to relive and recollect that simple wonder and awe that my kids were experiencing. As I reflect on what we learned as a family from C.S Lewis, we came across the following.
The opening scenes of the Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe leads us on a journey to find this majestic and powerful lion named, Aslan. Every scene and at the turn of every corner we are anticipating the return of Aslan. Each character that we meet describes Aslan in a unique manner, but they all conclude that he is the only hope for the tragedy and turmoil that Narnia is in. Then, it happens! We see this large, glorious, beautiful, and fierce lion. Aslan is both terrifying and loving at the same time.
So what did the anticipation cause in us? It caused us to be sharp and aware because we didn’t want to miss when he came. As we unpacked this with my boys we discussed how we are now waiting for Jesus to come back. Jesus is even better than Aslan. He is coming back to live with us so we could enjoy Him forever. Our anticipation of Christ coming back causes us to consider our life. I am reminded of Phil 1:27 where Paul calls us to live a life worthy of the Gospel.
As we wait in eager anticipation for Jesus we can reflect on our life and are motivated to live in light of the goodness and mercy of Christ. Further, our anticipation causes us to be diligent and fruitful with our time. We don’t know when Christ will come back, and we have much to do today to advance the Gospel. There are real hurting and broken people that are in desperate need of the Gospel. Therefore, our anticipation causes us to be faithful to the great commission.
The Failure To See God:
In Prince Caspian we came across another interesting twist. Lucy see’s Aslan and as she tries to tell her siblings that he is in fact there, they tell her off. Why is it that Lucy was able to see Aslan but the others were not? We find that that the kids, like all of us, were motivated and driven by their own desires. It’s dangerous to pursue our own desires. While Peter was consumed with proving himself as the famed “High King” he neglects Aslan and pursues his own selfish motives. Something we can all relate to. Augustine says it well, “For men see Him just so far as they die to this world; and so far as they live to it they see Him not.”
The more we live our lives for our gratification, motives, desires, and wants we will see less of God. This extends to hearing from God. I hear so often, “I just don’t hear from God” or “I don’t know His will for me”. I’ve said this! The reality is, in my life, one of the key problems is the distraction of my selfishness. Matthew 16:24 speaks to this reality. That our pursuit must be Christ. As we deny ourself, carry a cross, and follow after Him, we will see him clearly.
Meditating On The Sacrifice of Christ:
As we were leading up to the moments when Aslan was preparing to sacrifice himself for Edmund my wife and I looked at each other with panic. We remembered how hard it was to see this beautiful, powerful, Aslan subject himself to this wicked witch and get slain. We quickly looked at each other and began to debate over whether or not the kids should see this. We ended up coming to the realization that they should, and we had to clearly communicate what was happening. Needless to say, there was crying, sobbing, anger, so many pure emotions from a little 4 and 2 year old. I can’t begin to describe how awesome it was to see them respond when Aslan comes back victorious. As we talked about what took place with Aslan we told the boys that this is what Jesus literally did for us. We were just as guilty as Edmund, and Jesus was perfectly innocent. However, he sacrificed himself willingly on our behalf. But he didn’t die! He conquered sin and death and promised to come back for us. What a simple way to explain the doctrine of substitutionary atonement to a 4 and 2 year old (thank you C.S Lewis!).
We have to keep the reality of Christ’s sacrifice in front of us. This is why I think its wise to do communion each week. We are putting into practice a system of remembrance that causes us to consider, think, and thank God for his goodness and sacrifice. Further, we can take hope in His promise to come back as a victorious King to reconcile his people to Himself.
If you are a parent, I would highly recommend that you take some time to read through the Chronicles of Narnia. If your kids are old enough read as a family with them. However, don’t just enjoy the literary excellence of the book without meditating on the beautiful Gospel themes that C.S Lewis implements so intentionally.