An Act of True Love
Updated: Oct 31, 2019
With the sequel to Disney’s Frozen due to come out in November of this year, it got me thinking about what I really liked about the first one. Remember the story? Two sisters left orphaned; one of them with mystical powers to freeze things, which she cannot control, and of which she is terrified; the other full of life and a desire to fully engage in life; talking snowmen; and the apparently incessant sound of 8-year-olds singing “Let It Go”. Cinematically, the film was a triumph for Disney’s animation team.
But the film presented something that we Christians can appreciate - even something we should be proud of. Rather than exalting the romantic “someday-my-prince-will-come”-type of love that has been Disney’s bread and butter in these sorts of “princess” films, Frozen gets at the heart of real love - Christian love - Christ’s love. The curse/blessing that Elsa seems to labor with can only be resolved/undone/perfected through “an act of true love,” which would restore the kingdom and everyone in it to peace and happiness again. The assumption that her sister and everyone else makes is that this has to do with the kiss of the handsome prince. In the end, this is not anything like what truly will do the trick.
How apt for our time is this confusion? Our world tells us that these sorts of superficial fixes - these sorts of surface remedies - are what we are looking for. We try and find meaning in the right clothes, the right friends, the right music, the right philosophy. If the people on TV are happy, all I need to do is imitate them and I will be too, right?
Instead, we find ourselves always looking for more. In the midst of our stockpiles of the world’s goods, we still feel empty and cold. What is missing?
Anna shows this to us in the end of Frozen when she saves her sister with a selfless act of love - sacrificial love - what the Greeks and the Bible call agape. She even dies in this act of love. Anna is the sign of love that this story needs. And that sacrificial love is what our world needs to bring true meaning and happiness to us as well. Through that sacrifice, Elsa’s spell is broken, and she is redeemed. She comes to a sense of peace with her gifts and all are brought into harmony.
Here we are, on the brink of Holy Week, when we commemorate the events that have constituted us as Christians. In the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, we experience the same act of true love - God’s complete love for us - and we are saved by it. Only in that act - and our faithful acts united and rooted in it - can our world find the harmony that we are seeking. This is scary love - since it is not clean, it is not based in platitudes, it is about suffering and uncertainty. However, when we surrender to that sort of love - when we embrace this Christ-like love for ourselves - we are brought into the perfect harmony with God that He has willed from the moment He created us.
In a way, all of our hearts are frozen. We are caught in our fears, in our wounds and brokenness, in our inability to forgive, in our insecurity. Only an act of true love can melt such a frozen heart. The good news is that this act has happened - and it continues to happen. Jesus is alive and active in our world, and He is seeking us out to melt that ice.
And some People are worth melting for!