Matthew 3:1-6, “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.”
Companion reading is Chapter 2 of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”
On the one hand Mr. Tumnus has been waiting in anticipation of meeting a human and was prepared, he thought to kidnap and turn over them over to the White Witch, but quickly realizes in his heart to do so, would be wrong. Doing what’s right is sometimes the bravest act we can do. On the other hand, what relief Mr. Tumnus must have felt when he told Lucy the truth, it must have been very freeing. Repenting of our mistakes and sins to God is freeing, this is also true when we seek forgiveness from individuals we have wronged. I have experienced the freeing feeling of forgiveness and it is as if a weight had been literally lifted right off my shoulders. When we carry unnecessary burdens, guilt and shame it causes much pain. That pain goes beyond just ourselves, it has a cascading effect on all of our relationships and often we try to push God away. When I have been in the midst of these experiences I know God is still with me but my guilt distracts me and I feel like I need to keep God at a distance. Selfishly thinking I can fix or hide whatever “it” is from God. How very foolish of me, I am hurting myself and God with my stubbornness.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines REPENTANCE as:
• to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life.
Advent is a season of preparation, anticipation and waiting. We learn from the story that Mr. Tumnus had previously made an agreement with the White Witch that if he ever encountered a human child, he would hand them over to her. As the story progresses, we learn that Mr. Tumnus decides to place himself in danger by not reporting Lucy and seeks forgiveness from Lucy for wanting to cause her harm.
Today, the Christian Church celebrates and recognized the First Sunday of Advent. Over the next four weeks we will prepare our hearts for Jesus’ birth through Hope-Peace-Joy-Love.
Some interesting correlations between John the Baptist and Mr. Tumnus: they were both hairy, wild men who lived on or near the borders of two kingdoms. Mr. Tumnus met Lucy at the border between Narnia and the Wardrobe. The people of Judea traveled to meet John at the Jordan River. John, too stood at the border between what has been/what is and the kingdom to come through Jesus. People come to the Jordan to confess their sins and to be baptized by John. This was their preparation and anticipation of the coming of Jesus, though at the time they did not fully know what that meant.
Advent is a “borderland” season, a new year is coming, we are waiting for the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day and His coming again, The Second Coming of Christ!
Questions for Reflection:
• Does Advent feel like a strange time of the year to ask for forgiveness? Why or why not?
• What ways might you pursue repentance and forgiveness in your life? A few suggestions offered are to write a letter to God; reach out to someone you have been estranged with; talk with a spiritual leader; or perhaps consider a rite of reconciliation.
Tomorrow’s companion reading is chapter 4 of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”
~Peace & Hope~