Wednesday, December 25, 2013



The past week has been classic Cleveland weather. Just last week there were 5...6...7 inches of snow on the ground. I don't like the cold but I try to force myself to enjoy it. I went cross country skiing and the next day I came out to find my tracks covered in snow and made another set of tracks. The next day when I woke up... the snow and ice was totally gone and it was a sixty degree day in December.

And now... "A White Christmas."

The truth is, anyone that knows me knows I don't like the cold... I love the sun and the warmth and the heat. One of my priest friends says that I'm "solar powered."

Disney's "Frozen" deals with this whole theme of a town covered in a perpetual winter snow storm and desiring a spring thaw.

And I discovered a character that I can totally relate too:


Here are my favorite lines of his:

"Oh I don't know why but I've always loved the idea of summer, and sun, and all things hot."

"Some people are worth melting for."

"Hi everyone, I'm Olaf and I like warm hugs."

Olaf grinned. “I've always loved the idea of summer, and sun and all things hot,” he said. “The warm sun on my face and getting a gorgeous tan.” “I'm guessing you don't have much experience with heat," said Kristoff smiling.  "Nope" Olaf replied, come on let's go bring back summer!"

In the movie Olaf plays the comic relief, but he's also an image of revelation, he slowly comes to understand what it means to be frozen, what it means to melt, and what it truly means to love.

What he doesn't realize is that in order for him to experience sun, and warmth, and love... he will melt.

On Christmas we celebrate the birth of our Savior. What we often don't realize is that for God to take on human flesh he had to become poor like us, weak, powerless... He came in the form of a child. In His very love for us and desire for our life, and warmth, and love and to bring us the light, and the warmth and the heat of love he would indeed melt... he would lose his life. The wood which held him as he was laid in a manger would become the "wood" that held him nailed to the cross.

God is born for us, he gives Himself to us, He is born at every Eucharist on the altar... and placed into our hands, vulnerable, weak, powerless, so that our hearts may melt so that we may experience the light of life. He comes to transform our kingdom of ice, and cold, and sin and death into a kingdom of love.

"For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
and forever peaceful,
from David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
by judgment and justice,
both now and forever.


Elsa is the older sister and she discovers early on she has been given this "gift", this "power" to freeze things at will.

The movie begins with a magical scene of two sisters playing in the snow.

Elsa and her baby sister Anna build a snowman together. Anna begins to run and jump while Elsa delights in freezing slides under her and platforms to land on. But Anna begins running, jumping, and sliding too fast and Elsa can't keep up. Elsa slips as she sees Anna jump from a great height, she shoots the ice to try to help her but ends up blasting her in the head.

Haven't we all experienced this? As kids playing and daring and pushing our limits... and the line we know by heart... "Your not going to be happy until someone gets hurt."

After she hurts her sister and realizes her power and not wanting to hurt anyone ever again she locks herself up in her room and later in an ice castle.

Elsa's theme becomes: "Conceal, Don't feel, don't let them know."

One of the gurus in the film warns her that: "your power will only grow. There is beauty in it, but also great danger. You must learn to control it, fear will be your enemy."

Her parents assure her that she can learn to control it... "but until then we'll lock the gates we'll reduce the staff, will limit her contact with people and keep her powers hidden from everyone, including Anna."

Anna's eyes sadden as the door closes. Elsa's power only grows stronger and more out of control in her isolation. Until she finally gives in and gives herself over to the power. She no longer identifies herself as a sister, or a daughter, or a princess... all she can identify with now is "Frozen". And her power to freeze becomes unmanageable... "let the storm rage on - the cold never bothered me anyway. it's good to have some distance makes everything seem small the fears that once controlled me can't get to me at all its time to see what i can do to test the limits and .... I'm free... let it go. I am one one with the wind and sky.... you'll never see me cry here i stand and here i say let the storms rage on." She runs away to build her own castle of ice.

And realizes she created "the kingdom of isolation and it looks like I'm the queen."

The truth is we are all born with the power to freeze or thaw, we have all of these drives and urges and energy. The temptation is to try to control them ourselves, to lock ourselves up, to isolate ourselves, to keep others from knowing about it, to try to control it, conceal it. But we can't... we were never meant to do it on our own. If we try to do it on our own we find that what we try to control ends up controlling us.

Sadly, from time to time we will hurt people, from time to time we will allow our own hearts to become frozen, we will shut others out and even shut God out. But there is a way to thaw what was frozen, there is a way to heal what was hurt, and there is a way to redeem what seems beyond repair.

Is there anything in your life that you are trying to deal with on your own? Is there any power that you can't control? Is your heart frozen?

If you have been baptized then the thawing has already begun.

When the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.


Anna is constantly knocking at the Elsa's door inviting her out of her isolation, inviting her out to play, inviting her to share her life with all of its blessings and curses.

"We used to be best buddies and now were not I wish you would tell me why."

She sings this song every day outside of her door for years: "Do you want to build a snowman?" "It doesn't have to be a snowman. I never see you anymore come out the door, it's like you've gone away. Elsa, please I know your in there, people are asking where you've been. they say have courage and I'm trying to I'm right out here for you just let me in, we only have each other its just you and me what are we going to do? Do you want to build a snowman?"

"Three Years Later"

Elsa is still in a self imposed isolation. "Don't let them in don't let them see be the good girl you always have to be. conceal don't feel put on a show make one move and everyone will know. it's only for today. "For the first time in forever." Elsa continues even stronger her theme: "Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know."

Anna pleads in song:

"You don't have to protect me,
I'm not afraid.  
Please don't shut me out again, 
please don't slam the door, 
you don't have to keep you distance anymore."  
You don't have to protect me I'm not afraid
Please don't shut me out again,
Please don't slam the door
You don't have to keep your distance anymore
'Cause for the first time in forever,
I finally understand
For the first time in forever,
We can fix this hand in hand,
We can head down this mountain together,
You don't have to live in fear
Cause for the first time in forever,
I will be right here."  

Anna was sure they could figure it out together, but Elsa grew more upset and frustrated. She cried: "I can't!" An icy blast shot across the room and hit Anna in the chest.

Anna remembers the only way that she can ever be saved is by a true act of love. Now remember this is a Disney Movie! So she begins frantically seeking a prince charming to kiss her and fall in love with her.

It is not until a couple of failed attempts she tries with one more final attempt...

Anna nearly frozen moved slowly across the ice towards Kristoff but she saw something else out of the corner of her eyes. Hans was about to strike Elsa with a sword to take over the kingdom.

With all of her remaining strength Anna threw herself in front of Elsa. Hans broughtt his sword down just as Anna was about to turn to solid ice. With a resounding clank, the blade shattered.

Elsa spun in surprise and threw her arms around her frozen sister. "Oh Anna..." She sobbed.

Anna began to thaw.

"Elsa?"  Whispered Anna.

Olaf suddenly exclaims: "An act of true love can thaw a frozen heart."

With her sacrifice Anna finally helped her sister realize love was stronger than fear. And Elsa's fear faded, love filled her heart and the winter snow began to melt.

Elsa weeps over frozen anna holding her crying... weeping, holding and then the mist from her heart begins to thaw.... from the inside out anna is thawed the sisters embrace.

"You sacrificed yourself for me, I love you."

Elsa looks at her hands and realizes with great joy: "Love will thaw? Love of course Elsa love she looks around love.... and she begins to use her power to thaw and everything is once more swept in the beauty of steam as love thaws. the love pouring from her heart and her hands transforms and redeems the entire city."

Frozen Arendelle seasons

Elsa says: "I like the open gates... we are never closing them again."

The truth is Christ has been born into our world and the thawing has already begun.

So how do we live this out?  

1. Olaf: Realize that God is wiling to humble himself, to allow himself to "melt", to hand himself over to us as an infant. To enter our world of sin. To come into our frozen, dark, sinful world. Realize that you are deeply loved this Christmas day. If you have been baptized the melting has begun, your heart is already thawing. Every minute you spend in His Presence your heart is thawing... Every Sunday that you receive Jesus in the Eucharist... you surround yourself with the love and the support of the community and the communion of Saints. Jesus was born into our world... Let him be born in your heart once more.

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.

What came to be through him was life
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

2. Elsa: If your heart is frozen. If you have shut anyone out of your life. If you have shut God out of your life... This Christmas... "Let him in." Like Anna he knocks at the door... asking over and over again as you grow older: "Do you want to build a snowman?" He's asking you... Do you want to build your life with me? Do you want to play and love and let others in? Jesus, like Anna is knocking on the door of your isolation. Let him in. Open wide the doors to Christ. If you have been away open the door once more to your faith.

For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
and forever peaceful,
from David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
by judgment and justice,
both now and forever.

3. Anna: An act of true love can thaw a frozen heart. Instead of searching for someone to love you... love and serve and give yourself to another. You can't make anyone love you, but you can love others and that love is what will save you and them.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.

This Christmas: Know that you are loved, Let Jesus in, and remember that you can't make others love you, but a true act of love can thaw a frozen heart.

You don't have to remain "Frozen" any longer: This Christmas let Him in.

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