It seems that the book and the movie had left some of my children with a romantic fancy for Turkish delight, a confection that the devilish White Witch uses to beguile Edmund. By some twist of fate we recently came into possession of a couple of boxes of Turkish delight.
Despite my familiarity with the Narnia books, I had never previously known exactly what Turkish delight was. Frankly, the gel based sugary candy didn't look all that appetizing to me. My suspicions were confirmed after several of my children tried out the supposedly tasty treat. One of my sons remarked, "I can't believe that Edmund sold out his brother and sisters for this stuff."
It's possible that our children were exposed to less than premium samples of the candy. Or perhaps Turkish delight was among the best confections available in the austere times of post-WWII England. But the boxes have remained untouched on the pantry shelf for the past couple of weeks. I could certainly see myself happily passing through the remainder of my days without sampling any more Turkish delight.
In the book Edmund is deceived by the White Witch after she shares an abundant amount of Turkish delight with him. Although his indulgence soon brings intestinal discomfort, he longs so much for more of the sweet treat that he schemes and even endures hardship to betray his siblings to the White Witch. He soon learns, however, that her demeanor changes dramatically once she has him firmly in her clutches.
As I have pondered my son's dismissive remark about Turkish delight, I have wondered what 'Turkish delights' I am fancying in my life. Which promises of worldly treats am I trading for matters of greater value? Edmund traded away integrity and dignity for a trifle that seemed so important to him at the moment. Do we not all occasionally engage in similar behavior to one extent or another?
The analogy is apt, given that the carnal treats we desire often turn out to be far less satisfying than imagined. Or, like Edmund, we may find that we never even get the treat once we have sold ourselves to get it.
But, as it was with Edmund, there is a way back from such mistakes, even if the cost exacts a terrible price. Through proper repentance we can be assured that the awful price for our misdeeds has already been paid by one that loves us more than we can imagine.
It is for this reason that we celebrate Christmas — to commemorate the birth of the One that came to take away our sins. Indeed, of all the gifts of Christmas, He Is The Gift.