“It is winter in Narnia,” said Mr. Tumnus, “and has been for ever so long…. always winter, but never Christmas.” (from The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis)

Every year I choose books to read during the season of Advent. Usually they’re meditations or reflections based on the season. But this year I’m doing something different. This year I’m rereading all seven books of the children’s series “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis.

I’ve chosen these books to read during Advent (a time of preparatory prayer and fasting) because of the quote I added above. Within the story Mr. Tumnus, a fawn in Narnia, is lamenting to Lucy Pevensie about the fact that due to a terrible curse, Narnia endures an everlasting winter in Narnia but they never have Christmas. In fact, there is no celebrating of any kind. Every day is exactly the same–cold, dark, and desperate. Kind of how the world right feels at the moment.

I remember reading those words as a child, then as a young adult, but now that I’m older Mr. Tumnus’ words carry a heavier weight. Maybe it’s because of my age, but each year I feel the the world’s sorrows more profoundly. And that’s what has brought me back to this series. While the stories are about Narnia, a kingdom held within the grip of the evil white witch, the stories are all about hope.

What will happen when the children of Eve enter the world of Narnia? What will happen when the snow begins to melt? What will happen when Santa–and Aslan–appear again? The children are tasked with ending the evil, except they have no idea how. It’s not until they watch everyone around them living out their faith that they realize they have a chance to beat the evil witch. It’s not until the children face a terrible danger (and win!) that they realize they’ve been living their lives in the darkness of doubt and fear.

I’m sure I’m not the only one in this weary world who watches the news and is affected by horror and heartbreak that cannot be explained. Yet, at the same time, I believe in the message of Christmas. The “what if” instead of the “this is”. The Chronicles of Narnia teach us that despite what we see, taste, feel, and think we know, there’s always hope waiting to arrive. And this year I need C.S. Lewis’s brilliant message of hope that appears in the form of a lion names Aslan.

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