Sleeping Beauty, Part II

We watched Sleeping Beauty again tonight. Lydia loves this movie – she actually sits on the couch and watches the whole thing, which doesn’t even happen with Shrek, and they LOVE Shrek. So, Sleeping Beauty is a huge hit for Lydia. After Elvis went to bed, I let Lydia stay up and watch the rest of the movie, although when Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather put the kingdom to sleep, I thought for sure Lydia was going to fall asleep too.

As we watched, though, I started to think about how allegorical this movie is to the God story. So often, the church is called Christ’s bride. At the beginning of the movie, the beautiful Princess Aurora (dawn…), is born, and she is precious. But because Maleficent wasn’t invited to participate in the whole affair, she picks up an eternal grudge against Aurora and is determined to destroy her. It is the same with people – Adam and Eve are tempted away from God and spend the rest of history trying to dodge Maleficent/Satan.

So to protect the bride, she’s hidden away in the woodcutter’s cottage until the ripening of time. They rename her Briar Rose. Then, at just the right time in history, the Prince meets the Princess, Christ comes to marry his Bride, the church. His father doesn’t think he’s picked the right girl — the prince fell for a peasant girl?? — but indeed, this is the true Bride of the Prince, both peasant girl and princess.

While the prince is going to meet his bride, all hell breaks loose, and Maleficent has her way with the princess, and then has her way with the prince. For a few hours, it looks as if evil has conquered all – she has the Prince in her dungeon, the whole kingdom is asleep, even the bride, and she is laughing.

And as the Prince battles all the forces evil can throw at him, he has to fight through a field of thorns (crown of thorns, anyone?). And then, not to give in too easily, Maleficent spirals in and faces the Prince head-to-head. And what does the Prince do but stab evil with the sword of truth.

Christ conquers death. He conquers Maleficent and awakens the church/bride/princess. The rest of the kingdom springs back to life and color, delighted and surprised to see the prince and princess come riding in to the kingdom. There is much rejoicing 😉 And then, my favorite part, the bride/church spends the remainder of the movie arguing over whether the bride should be pink or blue. We always get hung up on the unimportant details, don’t we?

It’s always a pleasant surprise to find these parallels in movies. We learn so much from the stories that are told to us – I don’t think we even realize it sometimes, but it’s there. Good triumphing over evil, the Prince – Christ – rescuing the Princess – the Church/Bride of Christ, at all costs.

It’s no wonder the fairy tales speak to our hearts, right? It’s the same romance that has been told every generation since the beginning of time. God creates man for relationship, the relationship is fractured and complicated by evil, God spends the rest of history trying to draw us back to him, fighting over and over again for good. I love a good story.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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