“Every story, great and small, shares the same essential structure because every story we tell borrows its power from a Larger Story, a Story woven into the fabric of our being”
– Epic, John Eldredge
It’s been a little over a week and I can now officially say I am enchanted by Encanto! (see what I did there?)
Admittedly my first impression was somewhat underwhelmed. Sure, my three-year old was actively crawling in and out of my lap throughout the movie, so I was a little distracted. But I also felt the story was a little messy and difficult to follow. However, my kids loved it and we’ve been listening to the music and talking about the story and somehow the non-magical girl from the gifted family has won a place in my heart.
Spoilers ahead! You may not want to continue reading if you are not familiar with the story!
Mirabel, the plucky heroine of Disney’s newest feature, is the only member of the Madrigal family with the gift of a magical ability. In the world of the story, Abuela (the matriarch) suffered a terrible tragedy and was gifted with an incredible miracle - an enchanted home that blesses each new family member with their own unique, supernatural power. Pepe controls the weather with her emotions. Bruno sees the future. Little Antonio talks to the animals.
The Madrigal family do not fully understand where the miracle came from, why they were chosen, or how the magic works, but they accept it gratefully and use their gifts to bless their community.
Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10
I adore Mirabel’s attitude. She could easily be sullen and bitter, doing her own thing. Instead she is a cheerleader for the stars in her family. She loves them and takes her own value from simply being a part of the family Madrigal.
Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Because of her outsider status (I think!) she is able to see the cracks in her family’s foundation and move them towards a place of healing. She gives Antonio the courage to stand up and accept his gift. She confronts her super-strong sister, Luisa, giving her the space to release the pressure she feels under the weight of her responsibility. While attempting to reconcile with her picture-princess-perfect Isabella, she pushes her plant-growing sister to move beyond what is expected into realms of creative expression and possibility.
Of course, all of this is done through chaos and heartache. Mirabel’s attempts to help the family lead them to literal destruction but also opens the way to healing and reconciliation. In the end her non-magical gift is essential. The Madrigal family can be loved for who they are, not what they can do.
As Believers, we are loved and chosen by God simply because He made us and we are His. There is nothing we can do to be worthy or earn His affection. We are part of the family and that is more than enough for Him!
See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children — and we are! 1 John 3:1
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.” Ephesians 2:4-10
The Gospel - the good news that God has rescued the world through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ - echoes in every story, weven when we don't realize it! Check out these other stories with redemptive themes and be sure to SUBSCRIBE for regular theatre-themed devotionals thoughts and encouragements!