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  • Writer's pictureTyler

Christ’s Love in Disney’s Frozen

Well, it seems like the magic of Frozen just won’t “let it go.” Last week, it was announced by Disney that Frozen 3 was in active development by the studio, and honestly, it brought up a lot of conflicted thoughts. Is this needed? Why continue the story? What else is there to elaborate on? But as we look to the future of this successful story, it’s also important to look back. Back to the year 2013, to the days of “#YOLO” and “Country Music Star Taylor Swift.” And of course, back to the moment Frozen magicked its way into so many of our hearts.

With the launch of Inkwells and Anvils, I’ve been challenged to dive deeper into these stories. To search for the deeper Catholic and philosophical meanings hidden in pop culture and entertainment phenomena. And in light of the news of Frozen 3, it seems a perfect time to dive back into the world of Arendelle and see what lessons can be learned from one of the most successful animated franchises in history.

Looking at this story from a Catholic point-of-view, Frozen tells the story of Christ chasing after all of us to save us with His love. In this story, Anna represents Christ and Elsa represents us - Christians. Elsa’s ice power represents our sin.

The film begins with the trolls in Arendelle telling Elsa about her power. “There is beauty in it, but also great danger…Fear will be your enemy.”

Sin has the power to corrupt anything beautiful. But sin also has the power to help beautify anything that is corrupt (just go with me on this). The fact that we are natural sinners gives us the chance to strive toward holiness. We can strive to sin no more, which only brings us to a closer relationship with Christ. We have to give our sin to Christ. But fear…of being judged, looked down upon, ridiculed, unloved…can keep us from giving our sin to Christ.

After the death of her parents, Elsa secludes herself from the world, keeping her power a secret even from her own sister. But Anna always knocks on Elsa’s door, hoping that Elsa will finally let her in. “Elsa? Please, I know you’re in there…I’m right out here for you. Just let me in.”

We as Christians tend to do this as well. Because we are ashamed of our sin, we decide to keep our sin from Christ, even though we know He is right there. He is always knocking on our door wanting us to open it. But we don’t. We keep it from Him and just keep going through life.

At Elsa’s coronation ball, Elsa and Anna get into an argument, causing Elsa to reveal her powers and run away into isolation out of fear and shame of her power. Once in the seclusion of the mountains, Elsa feels free. She feels that she can “let it go” and be who she really is. But Anna chases after Elsa, wanting her to return home.

In the moment that we, as Christians, see our sin, and everyone else sees it too, we want to go into complete isolation from Christ. We want Him to just stay away so that we don’t have to face Him, truly believing that He will judge us. Then we go into isolation. This “isolation” can be anything: drugs and alcohol, gangs or actual seclusion from the world, where we feel we can “be free”. But Christ chases after us, yearning for us to return to Him and His kingdom.

When Anna finally reaches Elsa to bring her home, they start talking about the old days when they were friends. Elsa clearly wants to be friends with her sister again, but instead forces her to leave when her fear returns. When Anna persists, Elsa hits her with a blast of magic and freezes her heart. “I’m such a fool. I can’t be free. No escape from the storm inside of me.”

We eventually come to a point where we are face-to-face with Christ again. We want to be in a relationship with Him again and we are faced with a choice: shut Him out or invite Him in. And, unfortunately, we may shut Him out again. But, fortunately, we can no longer deny Him. We know He is there. And He is constantly yearning for us to come back home.

Anna soon learns that her frozen heart will eventually turn her completely to ice, and the only way to thaw a frozen heart is with an act of true love. So she races back to Arendelle to kiss the man she believes she loves, Hans. In the mean time, Elsa is captured by Hans and brought back to Arendelle. Hans reveals himself as the villain, wanting to take the crown of Arendelle for himself by killing Elsa.

Hans can be compared to Satan in this story. Satan may seem like the nice guy when he wants you to do something, and we may even believe him. But all of his intentions are selfish and intended to keep us from Christ.

When Elsa escapes from prison, she creates a blizzard over Arendelle. Anna is heartbroken from losing Hans, but realizes that she truly loves Kristoff, the blonde mountain man who hurried her back to Arendelle. Seeing the blizzard, Kristoff races back to Arendelle, and Anna hurries to get to him before she turns to ice. Hans finds Elsa through the blizzard and pulls his sword to kill her, but Anna sees them. With Kristoff so close and running after her, Anna has to make a decision: kiss Kristoff and be saved OR save Elsa and turn to ice. And Anna makes the harder choice. She chooses to sacrifice herself to save Elsa.

The comparison to Christ’s sacrifice cannot be denied. Christ could have walked away from death. He could have just gone on and let us fall. But He didn’t. He let the high priests take Him. He let the people jeer, mock and spit at Him. He let the soldiers whip him with nails and hooks and rip His flesh from His body. He let the guards put a crown of inch long thorns on his head. He accepted His cross. And He let Himself die on that cross. He sacrificed his life so that we may live, even after all that we had done to Him. He gave His life so that we may have eternal life.

Elsa sees Anna turn to ice before her eyes and grief takes her over. She hugs the statue and starts bawling uncontrollably, clearly wishing that she had a second chance to fix everything. And she gets that chance. Anna’s act of true love thaws her heart, revealing that true love is not just romantic love. When she sees her sister alive, Elsa asks, “You sacrificed yourself for me?” Anna answers, “I love you.” Only after this does Elsa realize that love is what will thaw the ice. By accepting love into her heart, she ends the eternal winter over her kingdom.

And this is what Christ does for us. He rose for the dead. He sacrificed Himself, rose from the dead and when he was faced with the question, “You sacrificed yourself for me,” he answers, “I love you.”

And it is through His eternal love that we can thaw the cold of our sin. We are not perfect. We are sinners. And it is okay to fear our sin, because if we give that fear to Christ and accept His love instead, then the fear goes away. He takes it. And we can all live in His Kingdom, with the brothers and sisters that we love. And if that’s not a happily ever after, then I don’t know what is.

*All rights reserved to Disney in reference to Frozen, including images*

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