Monday, December 10, 2012

Way, way, way! Way for the King!

“This usually happened because a loud voice shouted out "Way, way, way, for the Tarkaan", or "for the Tarkheena", or "for the fifteenth Vizier", "or for the Ambassador", and everyone in the crowd would crush back against the walls; and above their heads Shasta would sometimes see the great lord or lady for whom all the fuss was being made, lolling upon a litter which four or even six gigantic slaves carried on their bare shoulders.”
 ~ C. S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

If you live in a country with a King or Queen as your ruler, this passage from The Horse and His Boy might make more sense than for those in democratic countries. There is a fierce loyalty, a deep pride, and a rightful fear when you are hustled from the street because the King is coming by. Both the fanfare of trumpets and the line "Way, way, way! Way for the Tarkheena!" make me think of the arrival of someone notable. There is a sense of awe, curiosity, and respect that makes one draw back, -- yet look up -- to see the one who is coming.

That is exactly what the season of Advent is like. It is a time to prepare for the arrival of the King. Not just the monarch of one country or a group of countries, but of the world, of the whole universe! No wonder the word adventure (which contains 'advent') in earlier times meant, "a wonder, a miracle; accounts of marvellous things". ( An adventure is a going forth, not knowing what you will find, but risking life and limb along the journey and seeing new and wonderful things. The arrival of someone important is exciting; it is an adventure of sorts to witness.

Almost the whole world missed the arrival of the King when He first came. They did not realise that the most exciting, life-giving event was imminent. Very few knew that God was about to cloak Himself in the frailty of flesh and bone, blood and tears. Yet those who knew burst into song when they realised what God was about. Mary speaks the words of the Magnificat; Zacharias utters divine prophecy; the angels sing their mighty chorus of good news; and the shepherds run around the foothills of Bethlehem declaring the marvellous mystery of Emmanuel. Some days later Simeon is also led to prophecy in poetry over the little baby. A baby, One who cannot care for Himself, yet who will soon provide  redemption for the whole world.

All of these songs and proclamations were calling out, "Way, way, way! Way for the King!"  May we hear those words and in a sense of awe, curiosity, and respect draw back, -- yet look up -- to see the One who is coming.

There is an Advent song that calls out the approach of the King. The lyrics speak of the Eternal Word, present at creation, yet being born of a virgin, and coming to be both God and man, that we might not be condemned to endless woe.

Ere the worlds began to be, 
He is Alpha and Omega, 
He the source, the ending He, 
Of the things that are, that have been, 
And that future years shall see, 
Evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessèd, 
When the virgin, full of grace, 
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, 
Bore the Saviour of our race; 
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, 
Evermore and evermore! 

He is found in human fashion, 
Death and sorrow here to know, 
That the race of Adam’s children 
Doomed by law to endless woe, 
May not henceforth die and perish 
In the dreadful gulf below, 
Evermore and evermore!
O ye heights of heaven adore Him; 
Angel hosts, His praises sing; 
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, 
And extol our God and King! 
Let no tongue on earth be silent, 
Every voice in concert sing, 
Evermore and evermore!

~ Johanna


  1. Great post! =) Horse and His Boy was one of my favorites! Also, I'd never made the connection between Advent and adventure before now!

    1. The Horse and His Boy rotates in and out of my top favourites, but it is so hard for me to pick a favourite Narnia book... ;)

      I didn't see a connexion in the actual dictionary, but I looked up their roots and meanings, and they do seem to have overlap. I hadn't made the link before, either.

      ~ J