Deep Into the Land of Narnia
Today is the first big snowfall of the year. I walked out of church this morning and BOOM — it was a wet, wet winter wonderland.
Perhaps it stems back to my childhood days, but snow like this, the big, fluffy kind like ice being chipped off a giant block, always makes me think of Narnia. And what irony that when I arrived home, my sister was playing “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” while cleaning.
Like many children over the years, I grew up reading CS Lewis’s beloved “The Chronicles of Narnia” series. And when I say “read,” I mean more than seeing words on a page. I ate the magic of it whole, like some delicious and almost forbidden treat. (It had to be secret in some way, it was far too good to be public.) It was better than I could have imagined. I will always maintain my hope that Heaven will someday be just like Narnia — a place wrought with landscape so beautiful that it feels like a dream, a place where you might run forever and never grow faint. I think it was those books that first awoke me to the love of reading. And I’ve never recovered.
As I watch the snow fall, I remember winters spent playing in the backyard of my house. I’d bundle up like a little sausage and head outside, with a sense of tingling delight. I’d hide under tree branches, pretending that I too was traveling with the Beavers and needed to keep safe from the White Witch. Or perhaps I was with Prince Caspian and was searching for the creatures of old. I must have looked for Narnia in every nook and cranny of my backyard and my house. (Whether this was a sincere hope that I would find a portal or just an imaginary game, I don’t recall. Probably a little of both.) Sometimes, my mother would be cleaning and when she’d open the door under the sink, instead of finding the can of Comet she was looking for, she’d find me, wedged under the sink in a ball.
“What are you doing?”
“Looking for Narnia.”
Bless her heart, she accepted this as normal and allowed me to dwell undisturbed in the happy corners of my imagination. Whether this made me a slightly introverted nerd or simply a creative person, it changed me somehow. Truly good literature does that to a person.
Even tonight, as I will walk outside to my car for the Advent service that Mars Hill is holding, I will still secretly feel the magic of Narnia in each flake of snow. I will smell the woodsmoke of the Beavers’ dam and feel the tingle of the enchanted winter in my very skin. I will taste the miracle of other-ness in the air. And I will smile, knowing that in some way, it is undeniably real.