Aslan in Advent
God on Monday
Welcome to the second in the series of God on Monday reflections on 'purpose'!
'They say Aslan is on the move’, whispers Mr Beaver to the four siblings soon after they arrive in the magical land of Narnia in the children’s novel The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by CS Lewis.
The whispering is deliberate. Narnia - a land where it is always winter but never Christmas - is ruled by the wicked White Witch, who forbids anyone to speak the name of its true ruler, a lion called Aslan who is wild but good.
The children have never heard of Aslan. But as soon as Mr Beaver utters his name, ‘a very curious thing happened…everyone felt quite different.(…) Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realise that it is the beginning of the holidays’.
Perhaps you, like me, had that feeling recently. After months of bad news about this pandemic, suddenly the airwaves filled with news that a vaccine had passed safety controls and would now be produced on an industrial scale.
Until that moment, signs of the Witch’s reign were pervasive. For with her at the helm, the pleasures and freedoms Narnia once enjoyed – feasting, dancing and singing included – are outlawed. And the fear its inhabitants have for her means they often need to keep each other at a social distance.
But the arrival of the vaccine is a sign that Aslan is on the move. Narnia’s darkness and ice will be with us for a while longer but there is brightness on the horizon and the ice is beginning to melt.
Both the pandemic and Narnia can, in other words, serve as a parable about Advent. Never in our lifetimes have we experienced Advent, and the Christmas to which it leads us, in the midst of a crisis of these proportions. Advent 2020 therefore provides us with two unique opportunities.
First, to allow our longing for the impact of the vaccine to strengthen our longing for the coming of Christ. And second, to consider afresh the wild goodness of God’s purpose in sending us - amidst the more serious and enduring pandemic of sin - a Saviour.
Peter Heslam, director of Faith in Business