Each Thursday in Advent, we will run an excerpt from the book Advent in Narnia: Reflections for the Season (Westminister John Knox Press, 2015) by Heidi Haverkamp. This reflection, titled “The Robin,” is meant to be read alongside chapter 6 of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Click here to read other excerpts in this series.
Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. —Psalm 143:8
After discovering that Lucy’s friend Tumnus has been arrested, the children are a bit shaken. But a beautiful robin gets Lucy’s attention and seems to want to lead them somewhere. As Lewis puts it, “You couldn’t find a robin with a redder breast or a brighter eye.” To three of the Pevensie children, the Robin is clearly trustworthy. They decide to follow.
Edmund tries to convince Peter to doubt the Robin and everything about Narnia. “Which side is the right side? How do we know that the Fauns are in the right and the Queen . . . in the wrong?” His judgment has been clouded by fear and greed; he doesn’t see in the same way his siblings do.
All kinds of beautiful robins hop across our path each December; some lead us in the way we should go while others end up being just shiny glass or useless sawdust. In Advent, with its consumer bonanza, busy schedules, short days, and long nights, we can get disoriented. To make it more complicated, the choices we’re trying to make are often between two good choices, rather than a good one and a bad one. Should I go to that holiday party or stay home and read a book about prayer? Should I indulge a little Christmas spontaneity and buy that festive but expensive tablecloth, or buy a few extra presents for others? Should I spend an afternoon visiting my niece and nephew across town, or join a church group at the soup kitchen?
There are more monumental choices we must make, of course. Whether the choice is serious or not, what we are deciding is who we will be and where we will place our trust. There is not a “right” decision in choosing whether to put your trust in a party or a book, except in your own heart. But in choosing whether to follow Aslan or the White Witch, Edmund later sees that he has placed trust in someone even more greedy and fearful than he is, who cares nothing about him and might well leave him for dead.
Back in the forest, Peter isn’t swayed by Edmund’s cynicism. The Professor’s words to him have taken root; he trusts his judgment and past experience, that robins are “good birds in all the stories I’ve ever read.”
God gives us an inner voice, too, and previous experiences to help us make the right choices and trust the right people. And we have communities and loved ones to help if we’re still uncertain.
Questions for Reflection
- Make a list of what you feel you “ought” to do this Advent and a list of what you “want” to do. What are the motivations behind the two lists? If they are out of balance, how could you better balance them?
- What signs, feelings, or urgings do you trust or follow when making serious decisions in your life?
From Advent in Narnia: Reflections for the Season. © 2015 Heidi Haverkamp. Used by permission of Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.