C: “Chronicles of Narnia” and the Magic of Childlike Wonder

Melbicks_Christmas_display_06_-_Narnia

“Lucy woke out of the deepest sleep you can imagine, with the feeling that the voice she liked best in the world had been calling her name.”

C.S. Lewis – Chronicles of Narnia

For generations, children and adults alike have dreamed of walking through an enchanted wardrobe and finding themselves in the magical land of Narnia, where even the smallest of children (and mice) can be heroes, and anything at all can happen. This bestselling series of children’s books, written by C.S. Lewis from 1949-1954, has captured the hearts of so many readers that it has now sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages.[1]

The secret to this tremendous success, of course, has a little to do with magic and a lot to do with writing to a multi-generational audience.

A Little Something for Everyone

Isn’t this the secret to every good children’s book? Children want something fun and adventurous to read, while parents want something that will keep their “grown-up” minds interested as well. In the Narnia tales, C.S. Lewis appeals to both audiences.

What child wouldn’t love to travel to a magical realm where animals can talk and children are honored as kings and queens? The characters, imagery, and language of these novels all reflect the whimsical nature of a child’s fancy. The result? Children beg their parents to keep reading, and adult readers are able to see the world through the eyes of a child again.

But hidden within the decorative wardrobe of this childlike wonder lies a collection of deep wisdom and truth that can keep any adult’s mind busy in focused meditation. C.S. Lewis, the same man who offered the world such theological treasures as Mere Christianity and The Great Divorce, packed a wealth of spiritual insight into each of these carefully crafted bedtime stories.

A Childlike Glimpse of Jesus

Christian readers won’t have to look far to find spiritual symbolism in these books, because every page is dripping with it. Of all the allegorical elements in Narnia, however, the most powerful comes in the form of Aslan – a strong and compassionate lion who reigns as the King of Narnia and gives his life to save the creatures he so dearly loves.

Is it naïve to assume that Aslan is meant to be a picture of Jesus Christ? Not at all. The Bible refers to Christ as the Lion of Judah on several occasions (Hosea 5:14; Revelation 5:5), and the striking similarities between the story of Aslan the historical account of Jesus in the New Testament are impossible to ignore.

We also know that Aslan was meant to serve as a picture of Christ, because he tells us so! Consider the following quote:

“I am [in your world].’ said Aslan. ‘But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

 

 

Of course, as Christian teachers and parents, it’s our responsibility it help the children under our care to make these connections. How sad would it be for a child to fall in love with Aslan, and never be told that this story is based on a real life man who truly loves them and actually died in their place, and that His name is Jesus.

As we enjoy the beauty and wonder of these fanciful tales with our children, let’s not forget to tell them the rest of the story.

________________________________________________________________________________

Photo Credit: Christmas Display at Melbicks Garden Centre, Colehill, England, by Andy Mabbett (November 24, 2013). Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License.

[1] “C.S. Lewis to be honoured in Poets’ Corner.” BBC News. Retrieved 23 November, 2012.

______________________________________________________________________________

The Classics.jpg

This post was submitted as part of the A to Z Challenge, where participants agree to write an article that corresponds to each letter of the alphabet, posting every day of the month of April (except Sundays).

Here on The Artistic Christian,  my theme for the month is The Classics.  Each day I’ll examine a book, film, or work of art that has become a beloved classic and discuss what has made it such a success, and what eternal themes it contains that Christian artists can use as modern illustrations.

For daily reflections from my personal travels around the world, check out my companion blog, A Shepherd’s Reflections, where my theme for April is Reflections From Around the World.

Advertisements

26 thoughts on “C: “Chronicles of Narnia” and the Magic of Childlike Wonder

  1. I am a die-hard Narnia fan. It is wholesome reading and the message is crystal clear. Thank God for C.S. Lewis. Great post!

    Like

  2. Oh to get to visit Narnia even for one afternoon!! We love that series as well… Listening to it on audio is a real treat.

    Like

  3. I enjoyed this post and “The Chronicles of Narnia”, too. Do you have a favorite book in this series?

    I have one more question. I like the way you shared with your readers the information about the A-Z challenge. Would you mind if I borrow some of your word to make a similar statement?

    Blessings,
    Theresa

    Like

    1. I think “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is my absolute favorite, though it’s hard to choose!

      And I don’t mind at all if you borrow my wording regarding the A to Z Challenge…we’re all in this together!

      Like

  4. My teacher read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to the class when I was seven and I loved it. I had a boxed set of the series which i reread till it fell apart! I replaced them as an adult but haven’t read then lately. I thought the first film was wonderful (especially Lucy) but didn’t like the second so much, so haven’t continued.

    Like

  5. Before I discovered Tolkein, Lewis was my author of choice as a child; still is (along with many others now of course). I read and re-read the Narnia series many times, their allegory far from lost and in many ways embellishing my fledgling faith. Thanks for posting – I think another re-read is on the cards!

    Like

  6. Writing to an audience of kids and adults can be challenging, and rewarding. The most recent that I have read in that vein is the graphic novel series Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi. Good stuff 🙂

    But Narnia I first read as a kid – when I completely missed the Christian symbolism. My wife read it as an adult, and she couldn’t not notice it. Very different experiences!

    Like

  7. I didn’t have the privilege of reading the Narnia books until I was an adult, and we have shared them with our children multiple times. Have you ever hear the album by the old group 2nd Chapter of Acts? It was called The Roar of Love. At first, it had to be recalled because they hadn’t received permission to use the characters, but eventually that all got worked out. The music is wonderful.

    Your blog is gorgeous. I’m having fun visiting blogs during the A to Z challenge. There are many that don’t exactly make a deep connection within me, but I love this one.

    Had the extreme privilege of learning under a brilliant Art professor while I was at Wheaton College and am so very grateful for the opportunities I have had to experience the beauty of art.

    Susan
    visiting from clearingspace4joy.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s