Everyone LOVES Frozen. It’s a beautiful movie with likable characters and VERY catchy songs that your kids will sing over and over and over and over until you catch yourself thinking about drinking rum strait from the bottle like you were Jack Sparrow. Don’t do it. When you regain consciousness they will STILL be singing “Let it Go” but it will seem a LOT louder.
When I first saw Frozen, I liked it a lot, as most of us did, but I was bothered by the departure from the traditional princess narrative, not because I have some attachment to a damsel in distress being saved by a man, but because I always felt the stories were a strong presentation of the Gospel. A princess (the bride/church) is under the curse of evil- often because of a foolish choice of her own which she was warned about (sin/forbidden fruit). She is dead to the world, unable to help herself, and it seems that evil has won. But then, the son of the king arrives, does battle against the powers of evil, and raises his beloved from the sleep of death and takes her to be his bride in his kingdom.
That’s the Bible in a nutshell. The old stories were great because they were creative retellings of the only story that is worth telling over and over and over- the story of Jesus.
So when Frozen took a DRASTIC departure from this story, all I saw at first was the feminist backlash against the damsel in distress who needs to be saved by a man trope. Sisters are doing it for themselves! But, so much for the gospel… and yet, Frozen was still so good. Why was that? How is it that good and that widely loved if it’s so different from the gospel? It took me a long time, but I figured it out. The story of Frozen is still the Gospel. I simply was looking for the Christ figure in the wrong place. Sometimes the messiah is found in unexpected places, like wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
The Christ figure of Frozen is not a prince. The prince in Frozen is the counterfeit of the Christ- the ANTI-Christ. Anna is the Christ figure. In much the same way a blue color worker from a small insignificant town could easily be overlooked, Anna is the sister to the queen, and she herself seems to have no power, no majesty, no authority. But then, Jesus was a carpenter from a small town who, if you looked into his family tree and past his first impressions, was in line to be king. It was easy to overlook.
Elsa is the queen- important and powerful, the focus of everyone’s attention. That’s what we expect the chosen one to look like. But she is not the one. She is afraid, and ultimately in need of rescue. She tries to take the throne and even with the best of intentions, but inside her is fear and anger and she lashes out at everyone around her, driving them away. She is not the rescuer. She needs to be rescued. But instead of seeking forgiveness and reconciliation, she runs away.
Elsa takes her salvation into her own hands. No right, no wrong, no rules for her. She is free! Freedom tastes so sweet. And she works, she builds, she does the works she thinks will make her free and save her people. But she discovers that she did not save herself, she only isolated herself. And she didn’t save anyone else. Instead, she brought death over the whole kingdom. The sweet taste of that forbidden fruit was a lie. There are rules, and she can’t save anyone.
With Elsa gone, Anna has everything to gain. She could take the throne and be queen before the day is out, but none of that is what she seeks. She lays down her crown and her place, humbling herself , she takes the form of a servant. Anna goes and seeks her sister out like a Shepherd might go seek out the one lost sheep, leaving behind the 99. Along the way she picks up some disciples- those who will join her without ever fully understanding her mission until the end.
Anna enters into the cold isolation where her sister is imprisoned. Where Jesus came incarnate, divinity wrapped in humanity, Anna is a princess entombed in ice. She tells her sister that she has come to bring her home. She invites her to be part of the kingdom, but she is rejected by her kin. Anna is rejected and wounded by the one she seeks. Her heart is pierced, she faces death, and soon she is left in the cold dark as the evil one laughs and declares victory. Elsa sends a snow monster to make sure Anna never comes back. The Pharisees sent the Romans to make sure Jesus would never come back.
The evil one-the Antichrists- turns to destroy Elsa for her sins, ultimately because he wants the throne for himself- but Anna sacrifices herself to save her sister. She gives her life so that the one she loves can live and be saved from the evil one. At the moment evil is defeated, the ones who love her mourn Anna’s death, thinking it is the end. And yet, her death is not the end. Through marvelous Resurrection she returns and the kingdom is set right. An act of true love has done far more than melt a frozen heart- it has brought the dead back to life, restored the relationship that was broken, and established a kingdom that is greater than they could have expected.
At the end, the story of this good news- the Gospel- brings people into the kingdom where the love and kindness of the Christ continues to invite them in. The first story ends here, but the one who gave their life to save the one they love will return, and there will be a wedding and the one who was overlooked, and the one who died and rose again takes the throne to be Lord of all. Can’t wait for the sequel.