When Emmalie and I started watching Once Upon a Time, we knew we were in for a treat but we didn’t know what kind of truth we could harvest from it. Then as I was researching some pictures from the show, I found this:
Once Upon A Time is, at its core, a story about hope. “For us, that’s what a fairytale is. It’s that ability to think your life will get better. It’s why you buy a lottery ticket—because if you win you get to tell your boss that you’re quitting and you get to move to Paris or wherever and be who you always wanted to be. And that’s Cinderella, right? One day she’s sweeping up and the next she’s going to the ball. Adam and I just wanted to write about something hopeful that for one hour a week allows one to put everything aside and have that feeling that your dreams just may come true.”
– Edward Kitsis, Co-Creator/Executive Producer (from the website; read the show’s synopsis, here)
Looking for hope
I couldn’t agree more! In the end, most of us are looking for hope… but why? Why are things not the way we think they should be? Or better yet, why on earth should we hope for and expect a better life? In Once Upon a Time, things are supposed to be a certain way. Everyone is about to experience “Happily Ever-After” but then something happens: a curse comes upon all the inhabitants of Fairy Tale Land (or whatever it’s called!). This curse affects everyone. It is brutal. It is all encompassing. But with the curse comes a great promise that means hope to our beloved fairy tale characters: Emma, Snow White’s Daughter, will return when she turns 28 and save everyone from the curse. Like clockwork, on night of Emma’s 28th birthday, her son shows up to bring her to Storybrooke to break the curse. And they plan on accomplishing this by convincing everyone that they are part of a Fairy Tale.
Far as the curse is found
We are under a similar curse. Like the citizens of Storybrooke, mankind was created for a happy ending; we were made for peace with our creator. But something happened. No, our enemy didn’t curse our happiness, but he provided the temptation necessary to place us under the curse of sin and death. So our bed of roses became a hedge of thorns, and we were expelled with a promise:
The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3.14-15)
With this promise came hundreds of other promises and foreshadowings of one who would crush the head of the serpent (Satan) and break our bondage to sin and death. And like clockwork, Jesus came. He came to break our slavery to sin and rescue us for His Kingdom of light.
And time ticks on
When Emma made the decision to stay in Storybrooke to figure out what was going on (as she doesn’t yet believe Henry’s tale), the town clock began to tick again. Until this point, everyone had been frozen in time– suffering with no end in this un-happily ever after. But Emma stayed, and the second hand moved… and kept going. Her coming had started something and we have seen that every time since then that she has done something new, more areas of the curse have been lifted. In the same way, Jesus’ incarnation (which we celebrate with Christmas in two weeks) was the initial swing of the pendulum. And with His coming, things began to change; He started to show new aspects of His long awaited kingdom in that,
“…the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Matt. 11.5-6)
It has already begun- His initial victories were won in the Manger, the Wilderness, and at Calvary; we now await His coming when He will take back what is His. And He will! And Happily Ever After will belong again to Him and His people!
This is part two in an ongoing series on finding the themes of Scripture in the television series Once Upon a Time. For the first post, click below:
- Introduction: Every Story is a Reflection