Jack, Molly and Aslan

I read to my two eldest children, Jack and Molly, before they go to bed at night. This Christmas season we have been reading C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It has been a tremendous joy for me as a father getting to read this with them; especially tonight.

Earlier we had read about Edmund’s conversion and about the pact that Aslan made with the Witch. For a few days Jack was desperate to figure out how it was that Edmund could live, and how the Emperor’s law (that required the death of a traitor, which Edmund was) would be satisfied. My thoughtful son finally determined that it must be Mr. Tumnus, the Faun, who would have to die (not a bad guess!). So, with all this in his mind, the truth of the matter hit him like a tonne of bricks.

As I read about Aslan’s slow ascent to the Stone Table, with Lucy and Susan watching in horrified wonder, Jack lay perfectly still on his top bunk. I read about the awful and ugly jeering of the Witch’s hordes as they abused the passive Lion; the one who could have killed them with one blow had he wished. Then I read about his agonizing, lonely death, and how the two girls who were spying from their hiding places could not watch it. In silence, the chapter concluded and I put the book down. With all of the weight and poignancy of the moment, I said good night to my children and kissed them. When I looked at Jack, I was crestfallen to find that he had fallen asleep. His five-year-old body lay perfectly still under his covers. I thought: “Why, at the perfect moment, is he sleeping?!” As I turned to walk out of the room, I heard him stir. I looked back to find him sitting bolt upright in his bed staring at me. I walked back and in the darkness of the room could detect that his cheeks were flush and his eyes holding back tears. I reached out my arms and asked if he was okay, only to have him lean into me and sob his little heart out.

Not wanting to miss this opportunity, I told them to lay back down and began to read the following chapter about Aslan’s glorious, victorious resurrection. The radiance of his majesty, the joy of Susan and Lucy, the laughter they had at playing with him. We learned about the Deeper Magic from before Time that says if a person who has done no wrong gives up his life for another—as the perfect Aslan did for Edmund—then that sacrificed one can rise again. As we finished this moving chapter, I asked Jack and Molly for the technical term we use when someone has been raised from the dead. Jack replied: “Resurrected.” I asked, “Who does this remind you of?” And he said: “Jesus.”

It truly was amazing.

We prayed, and thanked God for Aslan and his triumph over the evil Witch in his resurrection, and his giving of himself for Edmund. Then I praised God for Jesus, who died for me, for Jack, and for Molly, and how he was raised again, conquering death. And prayed that he would win the final battle.

Jack, definitely, got the impact of the story.

Thank God for C. S. Lewis.