Some people say knowing the first 1,000 digits of Pi is a useless talent. They say finishing a Rubix cube is a silly waste of dexterity. They say a database of fairy tale/Disney knowledge is a useless, nay! a foolhardy use of brain capacity.
Specifically speaking to the latter, I respectfully disagree. Especially since according to the internet quiz that I just dominated my new title is Disney Movie Guru!
One of my favorite stories is Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl. I recently stumbled upon a Disney retelling of the tale on Netflix, and it made me so thankful for the hope we have in Christ.
Let me summarize and explain: The Little Match Girl is sent into the bitter, winter cold by her parents to sell matches for the family. On New Year’s Eve, she was unable to sell even a single match and couldn’t go home for fear of her father’s retribution.
So she huddled up in between two homes, curled her barefeet beneath her, and began striking her matches to keep warm. She burned them, one by one, seeing the most wonderful things she could only dream of: roast goose, a warm fireplace, a tall Christmas tree with lights and family gathered around.
Every time a match burned away, she became more and more desperate to stay warm and to maintain the fleeting visions they had brought her. Finally, she strikes the rest of the box in a final blaze of glorious warmth, and seeing her grandmother begs to go with her. Her wish is granted and she is carried off to heaven, to be with God. The story says that she froze to death, trying to keep herself warm.
Scripture tells us that our hope – the only hope we have – is in Christ. 1 Peter tells us to set our hope fully Jesus. Not part of our hope – we don’t get to hedge our bets. The good news is that with Jesus we are secure, so we don’t have to hedge.
But what does that mean? I don’t have a little jar at home where I keep my hope on top of the fridge, or in the back of the closet. So what does it look like to place our hope fully in Christ?
Well, in a word, different. Peter says in 1 Peter 1:14-16 to be obedient, not trapped in our ignorance, and holy – or different. He echoes the Old Testament commandment handed down to the Israelites to be holy as God is holy.
The only way we have any prayer of accomplishing this is by placing our hope in Christ. God calls us away from ignorance to righteous, holy living.
How often do we cling to our box of matches, striking them for just a few seconds of hope?
There’s a point at which we can’t ignore God’s call to holiness anymore – we have to walk towards him and away from whatever our life looked like before. We should reflect Christ in our actions, because we are children of God.
It’s tempting to keep striking our matches because it worked! For a little while…
Anyone who’s ever been desperate knows what it’s like to hold onto whatever hope they have, even if it is only a temporary solution.
Jesus offers us an eternal hope, bought not with perishable things like gold and silver, but with the precious blood of Christ.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:24, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
When we put down our box of matches, put our hope fully in Christ, and start reflecting Him in all we do, the dark, desperate situations are illuminated by the light of the hope of Jesus.