A shorter, storybook version of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for younger children comprised last night’s bedtime reading ritual. A five-year-old boy and three-year-old girl snuggled up next to their mother to hear with bated breath how the majestic lion, Aslan, took on the sinister White Witch in the magical land of Narnia.
Whenever I turned the page to behold the foreboding figure of the witch, and mimicked what the witch might sound like (a mix between Gargamel of “The Smurfs” and my first-grade teacher, Ms. Melton, at the international school I attended in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), my daughter would repeatedly exclaim, “I’m scared!” and begin to whimper. At which point I would try to reassure her that in the end Aslan-Jesus wins. By the end of the book, the white witch had begun to sound more like the friendly grandmothers I met at yesterday’s visit to the assisted living center.
But this did little to quell my daughter’s new-found fear of the wicked White Witch. Her crying and carrying on about being scared of the White Witch obliged me to spend the first few hours of the night next to my daughter in her cramped, twin-sized bed, as she finally wandered off to sleep- and this despite my reassurances over and over again that Jesus was stronger than the White Witch, that while the White Witch wasn’t real, Aslan-Jesus was.
So I’m struck this morning by how evil (the absence of the good) and those things that make us afraid and keep us awake at night can tend to captivate us despite what we may know to be real and true- often so much more than “whatever is…noble…right…pure…and lovely.” (Philippians 4:8).
We are so easily enticed and led astray by illusions.