Sure, everybody loves Raymond – but this Christmas season it seems as though everybody loves Giselle too. If you don't know who I'm talking about, Giselle is the cgi-princess-turned-real in Disney's latest offering called "Enchanted." At first you might be thinking – "do we really need another syrupy sweet Mickey Mouse find my true love story?" And the answer would be...no. But "Enchanted" doesn't quite fit that category. Yes, there is a princess; yes, there are elements of finding true love, but this film also includes some plot twists and features that makes the Snow White story dwarf by comparison.
My personal favorite is Giselle's apparent ability to command the assistance of all living creatures – including cockroaches. Folks, if you can control cockroaches in New York City, you could take over the world.
But Giselle is not like that. In fact, her primary motivation seems to be one of finding true love and fighting for what's right.
Hmmm...a person who is sent from a pleasant and perfect world to a grim and grimy world who ends up finding love and defeating the enemy...does this sound like another familiar plot line? Only this one doesn't involve talking squirrels and obedient yet horrifying insects that you hope were harmed in the making of the film. Here - let me give you some background:
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger." Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others-the armies of heaven-praising God and saying, "Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased." (Luke 2:8-14)
You've probably read these words before – or at the very least you saw Linus quoting them in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." But...have you really thought about exactly what happened that first Christmas night? The eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe left his pleasant and perfect heaven and wrapped His divine essence in flesh so He could inhabit a grim and grimy world that had no hope for salvation. The hands that flung the stars in place now reach up helplessly to Mary and Joseph for embrace. The mouth that spoke all of creation out of nothing now cries out for life giving nourishment.
But that was only the beginning.
Jesus spent 33 years here on planet earth, healing the sick, raising the dead, and feeding the hungry. But that's not the main reason the Prince of Heaven was sent to inhabit our dusty little third world from the sun. Here's a scene from Jesus' life that pretty much sums it up:
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
Jesus is called the "Lamb of God" – which in that day meant the supreme sacrifice for sins. But the really radical thing is that John declares Jesus as the one who will "take away the sin of the world." This statement would have done way more than raise eyebrows and draw attention. John is pointing out that the reason Jesus came was to bear the full wrath of God as a sacrifice for all the sins of all people for all time.
Why did Jesus do that? Back to our plotline – remember? He came to find true love and defeat the enemy. True love in the sense that He loves humankind so much, He chose to die rather than live without us. And when Jesus cried out "it is finished!" on the Cross, the Enemy of our souls named Satan was utterly and completely defeated.
When you think about it, those who trust in Christ really do have the opportunity to live an "enchanted" life. When we trust Jesus as our only hope of salvation, we enter into a true love relationship with the God of the universe, and we don't need to be afraid of the enemy any longer.
And that's the happily ever after that is definitely not just a fairy tale!
Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.