Everyone's talking about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe because of the new Narnia movie. I love the book immensely and am saving the movie to be a shared treat with my daughters on Christmas Eve.
But the Narnia book that keeps coming to my mind in this season is The Last Battle. It tells of combat that seems more hopeless than any that has come before, and for good reason. It will be the final campaign for the kingdom of Narnia. Toward the end, the good guys are hopelessly resisting being forced into a stable(!) in which they are to meet certain death. But when they are finally cast through the hated doorway, they are in for a big surprise. Though they expect to confront an executioner behind the door of a dim and smelly outbuilding, they find themselves instead in a glorious new country, more wonderful than any they have seen before. It is Aslan's Country in which they find themselves able to run without tiring and more joyful and fruitful than they ever thought possible. "The inside is bigger than the outside!", one of them exclaims.
Indeed. That motif has bubbled up for me throughout this entire Advent. The fruitful womb of the Blessed Virgin conceals the most magnificent miracle ever known. The fortified city, hidden and enclosed, contains the entire company of those the Lord protects (Psalm 108). The Blessed Mother hides under her cloak the whole Church for whom she prays to the Son who loves to say "yes" to her and to us. The inside is found to be bigger than the outside.
And we are invited inside.
Alleluia. Have a blessed Advent.