Why We (Really) Love Movies About Orphans?

The stockings are beginning to be hung by the chimney with care and the lights are glowing on the trees. And once again, the holiday season has another box office hit with the wonderboy wizard Harry Potter and his pals in the Harry Potter and the Death Halllows: Part 1. Every movie theatre is filled with young boys dressed with dark-rimmed glasses and long capes, young girls with playful wands and old fantasy reading adults who love the writings of J.K.Rowling.  The books and the movies have broken many records and seem to year after year tap into people’s hearts.

But what is it about these stories that drawl people to Harry Potter?

One writer from Newsweek magazine states, in an article called “Why We Love Movies About Orphans?,” that people have always loved the stories about orphans. Stories where kids have been alone from the care of a mother and father but in the end they find hope. This was true in the old classics of Oliver Twist, Shirley Temple and Annie. One of my personal favorite orphan stories is the musical Newsies.

The writer of this article discusses the connection between Shirley Temple and Harry Potter in the conclusion of his article. He writes “We’ve come a long way from the comforting image of a cute little girl vanquishing fear by singing about animal crackers in her soup. But in dark days, we’re still yearning for the same essential comfort food: The sight of boys and girls alone in the world, like Harry Potter, finding a way to help themselves while we eat popcorn.”

So the conclusion for this writer is that we love a good story where kids find their way to help.

However, the real reason that we love orphan movies is not because we love a good heartfelt story but because all people are orphans.

We can connect with the boys who long for a father to hold them close at night.  We know what it is like to feel in shame and all alone. All of us have experienced the desire for a father to come and rescue us from despair and darkness. And we see it this spelled out so clearly in God’s Word.

Paul tells the Romans “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father! The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

We were fatherless and with no hope. Led away into the darkness of our sin with our satan as the only master that we would obey. Yet in the midst of despair, the Lord sent his Son to redeem his children back to himself. It was not us finding our way back through hard times to bring about hope, but a living God who came and rescued us from being an orphan and calling us beloved Sons.

So why do people really love orphan movies? Because they know what it is like to left alone to themselves without a father. This Christmas season let’s not leave them with just a story of a wonderboy wizard with a book of spells. Instead, let’s tell them story of a baby in a manger who came to save a people from being orphans in their sins to children of the only true Father.




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