Advent in Narnia: The Witch’s House

Thursday, December 17th, 2020

Hello friends—

Today our story in Narnia continues with chapter 9.

As our story continues, we last talked about Edmund sneaking out at dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Beaver. Edmund is mad at Peter and is craving Turkish Delight. Edmund leaves in such a rush, he forgets his coat. He’s to proud to return and retrieve it so he pushes onward to the Witch’s Castle. Edmund is dreaming of what the castle will be like, he was even picturing himself surrounded by luxury, power, and sweet revenge against his family. What he finds is a courtyard filled with frozen creatures and one ferocious wolf that almost has Edmund for dinner. The inside of the castle is cold, dark and quite gloomy. The White Witch is not at all pleased with Edmund that he came alone, and he receives no Turkish Delight, instead a stale piece of bread and a scolding from the Witch. C.S.Lewis captures the Witch’s house as this: a house is a castle, but no palace; it’s a dim, cold storage locker of statues with only one lamp illuminating the Witch and nothing else. It sounds like a completely dreadful place to be! It’s make one wonder why the White Witch lives like this (?), is it a statement (?), is she feeling something or does she feel anything at all; well, except for hate and revenge for all of Narnia. A writer, James Baldwin wrote, “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” Perhaps this is why Edmund seemed to like the Witch, a commonality with hate and dissatisfaction(?). The White Witch was so cruel and filled with so much vile hate, she destroyed her own kingdom and killed her sister rather than accept defeat.

Pain is part of the human experience. Without pain, no one could fully understand joy. God never promised to remove our pain, He promised to be with us in our pain. Jesus has experienced human pain, He willingly was born of flesh and blood, he experienced pain, rage, and rejection, He was crucified. So, there is no need for us to be afraid of pain, danger, or even death. In Christ Jesus, God pitches His tent (no castle) in our midst and is called Emmanuel—“God with us!”

Matthew 1:23

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”

1 Corinthians 10:13

“No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”

Matthew Henry’s Commentary: 1 Corinthians 10:13

But to this word of caution he adds a word of comfort, 1 Cor. 10:13. Though it is displeasing to God for us to presume, it is not pleasing to him for us to despair. If the former be a great sin, the latter is far from being innocent. Though we must fear and take heed lest we fall, yet should we not be terrified and amazed; for either our trials will be proportioned to our strength, or strength will be supplied in proportion to our temptations. We live indeed in a tempting world, where we are compassed about with snares. Every place, condition, relation, employment, and enjoyment, abounds with them; yet what comfort may we fetch from such a passage! For, 1. “No temptation,” says the apostle, “hath yet taken you, but such as is common to man, what is human; that is, such as you may expect from men of such principles as heathens, and such power; or else such as is common to mankind in the present state; or else such as the spirit and resolution of mere men may bear you through.” Note, The trials of common Christians are but common trials: others have the like burdens and the like temptations; what they bear up under, and break through, we may also. 2. God is faithful. Though Satan be a deceiver, God is true. Men may be false, and the world may be false; but God is faithful, and our strength and security are in him. He keepeth his covenant, and will never disappoint the filial hope and trust of his children. 3. He is wise as well as faithful, and will proportion our burden to our strength. He will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able. He knows what we can bear, and what we can bear up against; and he will, in his wise providence, either proportion our temptations to our strength or make us able to grapple with them. He will take care that we be not overcome, if we rely upon him, and resolve to approve ourselves faithful to him. We need not perplex ourselves with the difficulties in our way when God will take care that they shall not be too great for us to encounter, especially. 4. When he will make them to issue well. He will make a way to escape, either the trial itself, or at least the mischief of it. There is no valley so dark but he can find a way through it, no affliction so grievous but he can prevent, or remove, or enable us to support it, and in the end overrule it to our advantage. *Reference below

Questions for Reflection:

• In what other ways is the Witch’s house similar to the nature of her rule?

— Cold, not personal, unfriendly

• Are there ways you over-insulate yourself from harm or danger? Are there valuable experiences or relationships you might be missing as a result of this?

— Probably; most likely. Honestly, I do try to get out of my comfort zone, life is more challenging these days with COVID-19, but I am open to where God may be leading me.

• Is there someone in your life on whom you often focus blame or even hatred? Where does this blame or hate lead you?

— I have learned some very painful lessons in life, it’s not the mistakes we make that we should remember but the lessons we learn through the experience. None of us are perfect, it’s ok to hold people accountable but make sure you can also measure up to the same level you place on others.