I recently watched the Disney animated movie Beauty and the Beast with my young granddaughter. As we watched the film, she was full of questions about what was happening in the movie. I know that for any of us who have had children or grandchildren, we come to expect them to talk through a movie.
This time however, her questions made me think more about the movie. She asked why the man became a beast? Why did the young girl like him? Why was his castle so weird? And perhaps the cutest of them all, who was the candle guy?
After we watched the movie, I could not help myself to find meaning in what is otherwise a fairy tale from a time long ago. We all know the story I am sure.
The prince who became the beast, was a young arrogant man. He thought only of himself, showed no compassion or humility. When an old woman offered him, a single red rose in exchange for shelter. The prince refused the gift and shunned the old woman into the night.
How many times have we allowed our arrogance to rule us, or use arrogance to dictate our paths in life? How many times have we rejected a gift freely given to us?
In the story we find Belle, a young woman filled with dreams of adventure, whose appetite for adventure, is fueled in the books that she reads. As the story unfolds, she shows her compassion, love and bravery as she cares for her father, and offers to take his place as the prisoner of the beast in order to free her father. In Belle we see something, someone who is willing to lose her freedom for another, she takes on the weight of imprisonment because of love.
As the story unfolds, Belle sees the good in the beast, and he in turn, finds his heart filling with love for this young woman.
Unlike this story, life does not always have a happily ever after ending, I do believe that we can learn something because of this. We must not allow our arrogance to define who we are and how we act. We must all be willing to accept a gift that is given to us, with humility and understanding, as that gift could change our lives in the most profound way.
We should show the courage to accept change, to face difficult times with grace and determination. We must be willing to allow our love to guide us, rather than allowing hate to define us.
Let us remember the gift given to us, without condition, we received someone who came to us in love, who taught us to turn from arrogance and hate. We were given one who would take on our burdens with courage and humility that we would never again know the pain of imprisonment, for our sins.
Though the story of the Beauty and the Beast if only a fairy tale, perhaps we could all learn to change our hearts, show our courage and place our arrogance and differences aside. So that we may honor the gift of love that was given to us so long ago.
Pastor Lisa Chachula