How The Little Mermaid is Like the Christmas Story

A few nights ago I watched The Little Mermaid with my nephews.  The boys were a little confused about the plot, so I explained how Ariel agreed to give up her voice and had to kiss Eric before the sun went down on the third day or else Ursula would control her.  Hudson, the 5-year old, waited for the movie to end before he said, “Katie, when are YOU going to kiss a boy?”

When I told him that was a good question, he replied sincerely, “Maybe when you’re 85?”

Yeah, Huddy.  I feel that way too.

While Hudson was busy thinking about the single status of his aunt, I watched the end of the movie in tears as I realized the parallels between The Little Mermaid and the gospel story. I know I sound a little crazy, but you guys, Disney totally ripped off the Bible.

I don’t know if Walt intended this to be the case or not, but as I explained to the boys that Ariel’s dad was signing the contract with Ursula because he was sacrificing himself for his daughter, I choked up as I realized that this was very much like the Christmas story.

A mighty king:

Comes to save his child bound by evil:

The father takes the place of his child:

And gives up His throne.

The king no longer seems mighty and it appears that evil had won.

But we all know the story doesn’t end with an obese octopus ruling the sea.

The analogy begins to fall apart when instead of Jesus defeating evil by dying on the cross, Eric defeats evil by stabbing her with a sunken ship…

But after the final battle, the king comes back to life:

and those who were once slaves to evil:

are given new life:

Sound familiar?

The movie even ends with a wedding:

much like in Revelation when the bride of Christ (the Church) will finally be joined with the bridegroom (Christ).

I realize that I am reading way too much into a Disney story, but the gospel truths are undeniably present.  Surely Walt knew that a father sacrificing himself for his child and a king giving up his throne to one day defeat evil was not a new storyline.  And it’s not just A storyline.  It’s THEE storyline.  The greatest storyline of all time.  No wonder my nephews and I sat in front of the TV completely mesmerized.

The boys’ faces when King Triton shriveled up and Ursula took over were priceless.  My face probably wasn’t much different.




These aren’t the typical expressions we wear on Christmas morning because now we know that Jesus was victorious in the end.  Once the king was brought back to life, Vander said, “So it’s a good thing he took Ariel’s place because he still won in the end.”

Yes, Vander.  He still wins in the end.

Today as we celebrate the birth of Christ, instead of picturing this:

I’ll be picturing this:

Because although sweet baby Jesus is much cuter than an animated, shriveled mermaid, when I think of baby Jesus, too often I forget what He gave up to become one of us.

Too often I forget that without Him, I would have still been enslaved like this:

And too often I get so excited about presents and honey baked ham that I forget how much He must have loved me to come to earth and free me from the power of sin.

This Christmas, thanks in part to The Little Mermaid, I will not forget how absolutely INCREDIBLE it was that Jesus became human (aka shriveled mermaid) in order to take my place and save me.  Emmanuel.  God with us.

Merry Christmas indeed!

3 thoughts on “How The Little Mermaid is Like the Christmas Story

  1. Megan Terre

    Love the connection you’ve made. Now I have to let Holt watch The Little Mermaid, maybe when you’re here :)


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