Apologies this piece does contain massive spoilers for the film “A Christmas Prince”.
Netflix’s Christmas release “A Christmas Prince” has received a lot of attention on listicle and clickbait articles for being possibly the most amazing worst Christmas movie ever (Click here for a good summary). Having viewed this monstrosity of confection twice, I can confidently say that it is almost perfection in its terrible script, ridiculous plot and awkward acting.
“A Christmas Prince” fills me with all the kinds of joy that bad TV watched on holidays with a good friend can. And yet it leaves me with a question; why would anyone think to make this film in the first place? Who would sit down and decide this was how they were going to spend their time, effort and money?
It seems likely that the original intended market for this film is young women (1) who would like to place themselves into the shoes of the protagonist Amber Moore, as she travels to the fictional country of Aldovia to have her life irreversibly changed by the meeting Prince Richard, and discover that rather than being just an ordinary girl she can be queen of a small European nation (and run a viral blog). And there is an easy segue here to the Christmas Prince that we read about in the Bible who means that none of us are ordinary. Who came in love to rescue us from not only the everydayness of our existence but the darkness and death in which we were entrapped. We can even say that Jesus, who is our Christmas Prince of Peace, came to make every girl and woman a princess. Some might vomit, but we could definitely say it, and it does ring with the truth of Christmas and the hope of the gospel.
For Christians though, the hope of the gospel is so much more, including the wonder of the Christmas Prince (Jesus, not Netflix film) arriving in our world. We don’t go to far off fictional lands to find him, but rather that he comes to us. God came into our physical reality to find and rescue us. This means that we don’t have to leave behind the familiar in order to become part of his kingdom, but rather because of the incarnation, the familiar around us is also imbibed with the wonder of the holy.
At the end of “A Christmas Prince” (the Netflix film, not Jesus) Amber raises quite a few objections to becoming the queen of Aldovia, including her family is in New York (or is it Chicago – the film is unclear) and her career is taking off. These are unsatisfactorily resolved as the film ends with a kiss in the snow. And I am so thankful that God does not require us to leave to be with him, because he in a supreme act of love has come to be with us. And those objections which are so important to Amber, her family and her career, are not dismissed or trivialised by God, but rather he calls us to royal living in these. And moreover, in his grace when we are secure in our identity in him, as his children, we are better equipped to live our lives as professionals, as family members, as friends and as individuals; people who live in this world and care about it with integrity, honesty and a fearless desire to act in ways that bring God glory.
Royalty can seem fantastical and theoretical to people who have grown up in Australia. It is part of the appeal of films like this (and shows like The Crown or watching the progression of the relationship of Meghan and Harry). As we watch and read portrayals of royalty it can open our eyes a little to what the Bible means when it tells us that we are adopted heirs in God’s kingdom, a royal priesthood, those called to share in the inheritance of Christ. The royalty we see in movies or magazines is but a small shadow of what it is to be invited into God’s royal throne room. This is no a small thing, this is an invitation into the palace as those who belong, not sneaking in under pretense, or invited as second class guests. Just as the King of Aldovia’s seal allows Richard, as his adopted son to be his heir and truly “A Christmas Prince”, God has set his seal on us and brought us into his kingdom, something that no power, person or difficulty can take away from us. How encouraging too, that as women, who have historically been denied access to inheritance in this way (including in the 2017 film “A Christmas Prince”) we have the assurance that the Bible so clearly and fully states we are full heirs in God’s kingdom.
Side note here: as someone who works with young women and was one once, I want to state they are deeply misunderstood as a market and the level of pop culture produced for them is often belittling to both their intelligence and compassion.
Fiona is a follower of Jesus by identity and by trade a teacher of Science. She studied at Fuller Theological Seminary in California.