Did you ever wonder why happy endings are so satisfying? Something deep inside us is touched by a story in which the princess is rescued (Shrek); the evil-doers are punished (Lord of the Rings); or the ugly duckling becomes a swan (Pretty Woman). And as the movies above suggest, it’s not only children who want these endings. Hollywood knows that adult audiences also want to leave theatres with happy hearts.
Why do we love happy endings?
It is the gleam of hope which reaches into our hearts and gives us joy, touching us so deeply we can often be moved to tears.
Our lives are a bit like that at times. Some of the old maxims tell us ‘it is darkest before the dawn’; ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. It is the contrasts in our lives that are reflected so strongly in art. There cannot be a final exultancy unless we have been in despair. There cannot be height unless there is depth. Only against black does light really shine. And no matter how dark a situation becomes in a story, we hope for the dawn.
Why is this so? Because God has wired us this way. Our hearts still have the imprint of heaven in them; we long to see good prevail. To have evil win in the end just seems wrong! Despair, death and defeat should not have the last word.
I am here to tell you that they don’t! Although it often seems that the baddies are winning, they are not. Unfortunately they are having some victory (just peruse the media) but not the final victory. One of the most important things we desire for our children is that they be filled with hope; and we believe that this hope is found in God. At Easter we remember that God had the final victory over death and despair through the death of his son Jesus on the cross at Calvary. This is the light, this is the height, this is what we exult in.
In your times of unhappiness and despair I pray that you will remember that God, through Christ, has already written the final chapter of the world’s story, and that that chapter promises a happy ending, an ending filled with hope.
Maranatha: Come Lord Jesus!