This is our final excerpt from the book Advent in Narnia: Reflections for the Season (Westminister John Knox Press, 2015) by Heidi Haverkamp. This reflection, titled “A Tiny Fest,” is meant to be read alongside chapter 10 of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Click here to read three earlier excerpts in this series.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Edmund is freezing cold (still with no coat) as he, the White Witch, and her dwarf jostle over the snow in her sleigh, scrambling to find the other children now that they know Aslan is on the move. Edmund now has a sinking feeling about the Witch; she hasn’t offered him any Turkish Delight, only stale bread, and she treats him as a prisoner. “It didn’t look now as if the Witch intended to
make him a King,” he thinks to himself.
In fact, the Witch’s reign, where “it’s winter but never Christmas,” is starting to give way. Edmund doesn’t realize it, but Father Christmas has found his siblings. The Witch’s sleigh stumbles on another party Father Christmas has visited, a group of small forest creatures seated at a Christmas supper table in the middle of the woods. Edmund is hungry, and their tiny feast smells delicious.
The White Witch is outraged. When she finds out that it’s Father Christmas who has given them the feast, she turns the whole supper party to stone. Edmund is horrified. He sees the Witch, finally, for who she really is.
She is furious to hear that anyone is celebrating what ostensibly means the end of her reign, but she also is indignant at the existence of a feast at all. She shouts, “What is the meaning of all this gluttony, this waste, this self-indulgence?” A feast is a waste, no matter what it celebrates. No one in her kingdom should be enjoying physical pleasure or comfort. Even the Queen herself, aside from a few furs and a crown, seems to own nothing luxurious or pleasurable. Her castle is bare as a tomb.
Her disdain for luxury is a stark contrast to the Beavers, who serve a delectable meal (including dessert) to the children. Aslan sets up his military camp with a beautiful tent pavilion of yellow and crimson. The kingdom of God is a place of honesty and uprightness but also a place for delicious meals, physical comforts, and beauty. Advent is a time for both repentance and waiting, and it is also a time to celebrate the goodness of creation. Embrace the beauty and richness of the created world God has given us and to which he came, incarnate, that first Christmas.
Questions for Reflection
- In Christianity, both fasting and feasting have been traditional spiritual practices. Have you ever considered that “feasting” in Advent or at Christmas (cookies, chocolate, smoked salmon, champagne, etc.) could be a celebration of the coming of Christ rather than just an indulgence or lapse in your diet?
- Why is being a miser, like the White Witch, counter to the love and grace of God in Christ?
From Advent in Narnia: Reflections for the Season. © 2015 Heidi Haverkamp. Used by permission of Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.