The excerpt below is from THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis. The children has been transported to the magical land of Narnia that has been frozen in eternal winter under the rule of the White Witch. That is until Narnia’s true ruler: the majestic lion, Aslan, returned, bringing spring with him. The white witch tempted the child, Edmond, to betray Aslan. When Aslan rescues Edmond from her clutches, she demands the right to kill a Edmund for his betrayal of their deal. Because of the laws of Magic, Aslan must assent. But instead, he offers himself to die in the boy’s place. The witch agrees. They shave his mighty mane and humiliate him before the White Witch finally kills him with her dagger on the stone table. The children have been forced to watch this from afar…
As soon as the wood was silent again Susan and Lucy crept out into the open hill-top. The moon was getting low and thin clouds were passing across her, but still they could see the shape of the great Lion lying dead in his bonds. And down they both knelt in the wet grass and kissed his cold face and stroked his beautiful fur—what was left of it—and cried till they could cry no more….
I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been—if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you—you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing was ever going to happen again. At any rate that was how it felt to these two….
It was quite definitely early morning now, not late night. “I’m so cold,” said Lucy.
“So am I,” said Susan. “Let’s walk about a bit.” They walked to and fro more times than they could count between the dead Aslan and the Eastern ridge, trying to keep warm; and oh, how tired their legs felt…. At that moment they heard from behind them a loud noise—a great cracking, deafening noise as if a giant had broken a giant’s plate.
“What’s that?” said Lucy, clutching Susan’s arm.
“I—I feel afraid to turn round,” said Susan; “something awful is happening.”
“They’re doing something worse to him,” said Lucy. “Come on!” And she turned, pulling Susan round with her.
The rising of the sun had made everything look so different—all the colours and shadows were changed—that for a moment they didn’t see the important thing. Then they did. The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan.
“Oh, oh, oh!” cried the two girls rushing back to the Table.
“Oh, it’s too bad,” sobbed Lucy; “they might have left the body alone.”
“Who’s done it?” cried Susan. “What does it mean? Is it more magic?”
“Yes!” said a great voice behind their backs. “It is more magic.” They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
“Oh, Aslan!” cried both the children, staring up at him, almost as much frightened as they were glad.
“Aren’t you dead then, dear Aslan?” said Lucy.
“Not now,” said Aslan.
“You’re not—not a—?” asked Susan in a shaky voice. She couldn’t bring herself to say the word ghost.
Aslan stooped his golden head and licked her forehead. The warmth of his breath and a rich sort of smell that seemed to hang about his hair came all over her.
“Do I look it?” he said.
“Oh, you’re real, you’re real! Oh, Aslan!” cried Lucy and both girls flung themselves upon him and covered him with kisses.
“But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who has committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards. And now—”
“Oh yes. Now?” said Lucy jumping up and clapping her hands….
And now,” said Aslan presently, “to business. I feel I am going to roar….”
There’s probably no more enduring Christian parable in literature that THE CRONICLES OF NARNIA. The whole series infuses the gospel with childhood wonder. It’s hard for me to read the above passage without getting goosebumps. The triumph of the resurrection reminds us that whatever we go through, however dark… even when evil looks like it has triumphed and had its way, we can look past the dawn of time and find a power that is deeper still. We can remember that this winter that seems eternal is a temporary situation. Spring is coming. God will have the victory. Christ is risen!
Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear…