If you look over to the right of my posts, you will see that I have been reading the final Chronicle of Narnia to my sons. We finished The Last Battle last night. I started reading the series to my sons as they were falling asleep after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe came out on DVD last year. My 4 year old watched parts of it with me, and he was interested in hearing me read the story. I have to say though that most nights I end a chapter with both of them already asleep.
It will be a while before they can appreciate the stories like I do. I have read the series every 4-6 months for the past 10 years. I have read the stories to my boys in the order they were written instead of the chronological order that the publishers use to sell their editions. That order is: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; The Horse and His Boy; The Magician's Nephew; and The Last Battle.
I have found throughout the series that I get quite emotional when I read aloud the parts about Aslan coming into Narnia and meeting the children. I had listened to Focus on the Family Radio Theater's Chronicles of Narnia when I was driving to divinity school and back every week. That series is great, but I found that I enjoyed reading them aloud much more.
The real kicker was the last half page of the last book.
(Spoiler: Don't read on if you don't want to know the conclusion.)
That last half page is the one where Aslan tells the children that they do not have to fear being sent back to their own world because they are in Narnia to stay. A railway accident in the "Shadowlands" (as C.S. Lewis calls this life we live here on this earth) has brought the characters into Aslan's own country.
I'm glad my sons had already fallen asleep last night by the end of that final chapter. It would have been difficult to explain why I was crying. My oldest gets upset at my tears. Yet just like the title of my blog, I am one who is longing for home. I want to get to Aslan's own country, too. And one day I will.
Today at church, we sang two hymns: "How Great Thou Art" and "Victory in Jesus" (two hymns that I don't have to look at the lyrics to sing). Both end with a view of heaven. And I thought about heaven--a heaven shaped by what I had read last night.
The Last Battle is about the end of Narnia. It is an end filled with hope.
Aslan brings the children out of our world into Narnia so that by knowing Aslan there, they could know him better in their own world. I think that I do understand Aslan and Aslan's country a little better because of this series.
And tonight, I think that we will be starting the series all over again.