January 3rd we began our second venture into the world of Narnia – to once again enter the world of Aslan with the four Pevensie children and meet many of the fanciful beasts and citizens of Narnia. Last year we met the Great Lion and His love for His creation, we experienced His power of redemption and restoration through the ancient writings inscribed on the stone table as His blameless lifeblood was given willingly in lieu of a guilty soul. We witnessed the death of the White Witch and the restoration of Christmas to a land once covered with ice and stone. Hope once again filled the land as the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve ruled with truth and grace.
Over a thousand years have passed in Narnia since we were last here, the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve have long since been transported back to the land of England and left Narnia to be ruled by a new people known as the Telmarines. The talking beasts have retreated into themselves and the citizens of Narnia live hiding in the woods. They are once again in bondage to their fears, circumstances and living a life of survival while trying to believe the stories of the ancient children and their Aslan who came in and saved their world.
To be invited back into the world of Narnia is both a gift and a privilege. It is an opportunity to learn new lessons for ourselves and the responsibility to communicate the message of hope, love, courage and obedience to those who choose to allow Narnia to be a stop on their daily journey through life. A few of the lessons I learned along the way will forever mark my life and help me to encourage others on the road they travel.
As we enter into Narnia we sense that Aslan is ever present and yet unseen. Our stage is a splash of yellow, brown and gold, each color catching the light and giving the sense of an open field but with a closer look you see eyes looking straight at you, always seeing, and always knowing. Today in my world I have the splashes of color all around me reminding me of the joys, trials and dailyness of life and yet when I look closely at all the things these colors represent I can see the face of my God, always seeing and always knowing. Lord, today, give me eyes to see You in the colors of my life.
One encounter with a Narnian will forever make you a believer, where once he had only heard the tales of talking animals, giants and dwarfs, so once was the tale of Aslan simply a story. A prince with a purpose to make a change to his world heard the stories and was willing to take the risk of believing. Upon encountering a living breathing Narnian, how could he not believe in the truth that Aslan was real? Daily I encounter real lives that have been touched, changed and freed by Jesus, how then can I doubt His existence. How then can I not believe He is there for me?
Back in the land they once ruled, four children return to a different world. A world that no longer reflects the one they left; no longer filled with the familiar faces, sights or sounds; one that is now foreign to them and beyond their understanding. Fear begins to grip their hearts, wandering lost and without a sense of direction, with no sign of Aslan could they begin to find their way? Would any of them choose to believe and to follow by faith? Without the Word of God as our guide, we tend to wander down paths without direction, lost, looking for our purpose and wondering what our destination might be. God’s word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. As Aslan breathed life on the four children so we have the Holy Spirit who infuses us with power and courage to face the battles we must face.
As a part of the make-up team that brought the characters to life, I was able to see the transformation that each character would go through to become a walking, talking Narnian. Each character brought to life with hair, costume, make-up, dialogue and a vision from the inside out of who they would be. The gift of make-up would transform a small boy into a warrior mouse or a quiet young lady into a rather grumpy bear. Suddenly, they became a part of the tale, a part of the magic of the land, an integral part of the whole of the story.
Some of my favorite transformations occurred with my own children as I watched two of them stretch to portray the opposite of who they truly were created to be. One child who learned a little bit more about having fun and embracing freedom in each area of life. Another who delights in being the storyteller take a back seat so others could have their turn in the storytelling role. While another one found that telling a story and telling it well was hard work. And I learned that when asked to take on something well out of my skill set (being a make-up artist) can be fun and fulfilling when it isn’t about what I can’t do; but, about the opportunity to learn, pray and grow in new areas with the rest of the storytelling team.
My journey into Narnia had many more life lessons, like spirit gum is a sticky mess, glitter gets on everything and doesn’t want to come out, a story worth telling is worth telling well and life couldn’t get any sweeter than doing it with people you love. However, the greatest lesson I took from this encounter with Narnia was that above all else the real King of Narnia forever wants me to trust in His goodness, His love and His plan for my life, even when the trees are unfamiliar and the way unclear.
We said good-bye to Narnia last night with laughter and a few tears we had a grand adventure. Carrying the lessons of our heart into the future with new friends, shared experiences and some new skills under our belts we head out into a greater adventure still!