I’m a sucker for a happy, fairy tale movie and just about always love Disney movies, so seeing “Tangled” seemed like a win/win prospect. It exceeded my expectations – was funny, charming, visually stunning, and sweet. One scene in particular made me really emotional and I felt pretty silly, so I tried to figure out why it moved me so. If you know the story of Rapunzel, you know she was stolen away from her parents, the king and queen, when she was just a little baby. She never knew any other parent than the old woman who kidnapped her and raised her as her own daughter, all the while locked up in a high tower. Although she told Rapunzel over and over how she loved her and how the tower was for her protection, the truth was the old woman was selfish. She didn’t care about Rapunzel at all. She needed Rapunzel’s magical hair to renew her youth day by day so that she never grew old.
Every year on Rapunzel’s birthday, the king and queen held a ceremony in which they would send a paper lantern up into the night sky. The people of the kingdom followed suit, so that hundreds of paper lanterns could be seen rising up off in the distance by Rapunzel, looking out of her tower window. She wondered what it meant, what they were.
Long story short, she gets an opportunity to escape the tower on her birthday while the old woman is away and in my favorite scene, is sitting in a boat on a lake near the castle waiting to see the lights “up close” for the first time.
The king and queen are shown in the castle before they hold ceremony for the 18th year and their sadness is profound. It’s evident that they have such a little sliver of hope left that their daughter will ever be found or will ever come back to them, but they once again go out onto their balcony and lift the lantern up to float away into the night. As they do, so do all the people in the winding streets below and soon the sky is filled with lovely, glowing lanterns. Rapunzel is mesmerized by the magical sight and wonders if for some reason it is something for her. She finally finds out in the end that she is actually a princess and that the king and queen are her parents, that they’ve been looking for her and hoping for her return. She discovers that living in their kingdom as their daughter is where she’s meant to be.
I was struck by the love of the king and queen as they faithfully carried out their tradition every year, hoping somehow to find their child they loved so much and wanted so desperately to come home. Rapunzel never would have been intrigued or drawn to their kingdom if she hadn’t seen the lights every year from her place of captivity. I thought of how much God loves each person and how His heart yearns just as fervently, even more, for his children who are lost to realize who they really are and come home. The lost ones are like Rapunzel in a way, captured by the enemy and lied to by him, told they are where they belong, used and trapped, missing out on their real destiny and held back from their true home. How will they know if they don’t see someone sending up a light? And how powerful if they see a vast number of lanterns being sent up by the people who inhabit the kingdom of God, helping the King call out to his lost children.
God sent his son, Jesus, to be the first light, the light of the world. We, the ones who have trusted in Him and now have his light living in our hearts, need to help our Father and King make his appeal. I admit I am sidetracked at times and haven’t always done my part. I want to, though. If they see the light in us, they just might realize that in God’s love and embrace is where they’re meant to be.