True confession time. I don’t care for the Nutcracker ballet. I never have liked it and I certainly don’t associate this ballet with Christmas.
That declaration seems pretty un-American. Or un-Russian, at the very least.
Over this last weekend, my seven-year-old and I went to saw the Montgomery Ballet’s version of the Nutcracker. Not because I like it or because it’s Christmas time. No, we went to see it primarily because we know one of the five-year-old dancing mice in this ballet company and because I’m a firm believer in introducing my son to many different cultural aspects of society.
As we were watching (insert the word ‘suffering,’ if applicable), my mind began to wander on how the parallels of the Nutcracker are seen in the life of Jesus Christ and His gift for us.
The main character is a girl, Clara, who represents all of humanity as she waits between now and the future. She receives a nutcracker that comes to life to fight evil. The nutcracker eventually dies in the ballet while fighting evil, but is brought back to life by Clara’s godfather. Once the nutcracker comes back to life, he is a handsome prince who takes Clara to a beautiful kingdom and everyone in the kingdom is excited about the prince’s return.
Do you see a familiar pattern? Humans desperately need to be saved, which is highlighted by the little girl Clara. Like the Nutcracker, Jesus comes and saves humanity from sin and evil. The Nutcracker, in parallel with Jesus, saves Clara from the evil Mouse King (Satan) and God (the Godfather) raises the nutcracker from the dead and he is transformed into a beautiful prince.
The Nutcracker explores evil versus good, death and resurrection, anxiously waiting, the tension between the now and future, and the triumphal return of the Prince of Peace.
While I’m not making light of Jesus in comparison to a nutcracker gift, I am contending that He came in flesh on Christmas as a newborn babe…ready to fight evil…ready to die for us…ready to come back.
I am observing that even in the parts of the Christmas celebrations that we don’t enjoy, we can find the hope of Christ nestled into the messaging. As we gear up for the next few hectic weeks before Christmas, I encourage you to pause and draw some parallels for yourself.