For the creation was subjected to futility . . . (Romans 8:18-25)
Almost a year ago, for my son’s 15th birthday, Marnie had planned to make a special meal featuring fried chicken - something she ventures to cook only for the most special of occasions.
Planning ahead, she gathered everything she would need to make this meal. The following day she would get home from the office and go straight to work on her culinary birthday gift. That was the plan. Until I stepped in. She had asked me to take the chicken and put it in the refrigerator we have in the basement. Without thinking things through I simply assumed that chicken belonged in the ‘freezer’ part of what she was calling the ‘refrigerator.’
The following evening Marnie came home ready to cook only to find the center-piece of the much anticipated meal frozen solid. She was forced to come up with a back-up plan (which was still very good). We’ve all heard of jumping from the frying pan into the fire. But there’s just no way to go from the freezer to the frying pan.
A true thaw takes time.
In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis introduces us to the land of Narnia. It is a land held captive by a tyrannical ruler, the oppression visibly portrayed in a deep freeze that has Narnia in its grip – “always winter but never Christmas,” we’re told.
But we’re also told that Narnia has a true King and this true King has not abdicated his rule. “Aslan is on the move.” As the magisterial Lion Aslan makes his presence known in the drama we see Narnia slowly thawing. Rivers begin to flow full as ice becomes water; green grass penetrates the white shell of ice and snow.
None of this happens quickly. A true thaw takes time, and the land of Narnia has been waiting for a very long time for the day when its lifeless freeze would yield to the warmth of its true King.
There is a line in O Holy Night that says “long lay the world in sin and error pining.” These words capture the deep freeze of Narnia. They describe the world we see around us. They may even say something about the coldness of your own heart during this Advent season.
Aside from the rogue 70 degree day we had last week in Atlanta, December typically arrives with a chill. For many people that chill goes beyond the weather conditions. Our hearts are cold: the pain of grief is exacerbated, money pressures feel intensified, relational fissures can be pushed to the breaking point. By itself, the annual arrival of December does little to mend the broken places of life.
Next week we’ll look more at how the breath of God gives life to what is frozen solid. But for today be encouraged by this. A true thaw takes time. Be patient with what seems cold and lifeless within you. Advent tells us that there is a true King who is on the move.
Where is the deep freeze in your life these days? Pray. Wait. Watch.
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel; who mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.” We ask this in the name of the long awaited one, Jesus our Lord. Amen.