Gospel according to Disney – Tangled

One of my daughters’ favourite Disney animations of all time is ‘Tangled,’ the story of Rapunzel.

The story opens with the baby Rapunzel being abducted by an old woman because Rapunzel’s hair has magical properties that will keep her young. Rapunzel therefore grows up in seclusion in a tall tower, never knowing that in reality she is the daughter of the king and queen.

What she does know is that every year on her birthday lights rise in the sky and she is intrigued to discover what they are and why they only appear on her birthday. Her chance comes one day, when she meets a man called Flynn Rider, who agrees to lead her to the lights.

In fact the lights are lanterns released by the king and queen intended to guide her home. Throughout all the years they have never stopped believing that their daughter is alive and their prayer is that she will see the lanterns in the sky and follow them back to the source – her true home.

In the bible Jesus is described as the light of the world, sent by God in love to draw us back to himself. Every Christmas we celebrate this in the birth of Jesus and we traditionally place a star on the top of the tree. It’s a reminder in our homes that God is calling each one of us to himself.

This took on particular meaning for me recently when I sat at the bedside of a lady who was dying. Her family was there and the unspoken question was, ‘will she be safe? Is heaven real?’ As the sun shone through the window lighting up her face, it was as if God was giving us assurance. In Tangled the most touching moment is when Rapunzel sees the lights and realizes they are being sent up for her by her father. In the same way, we are to understand that our heavenly Father has sent us Jesus, the Light of the World, who will lead us safe home.


John Harries (Chaplain)

Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School by STB