(Original Disney-inspired artwork by Selma Komisky)
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Jack and the Zombie Christian
Lessons Learned from Jack in ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’
By Zelda Dominguez
Let’s recap the movie “Nightmare Before Christmas.”
It begins in Halloween Town where Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin King. Feeling empty and dissatisfied he starts to sing, it’s the same old thing, tired of his crown and would give it up if he could.
The town’s people celebrate finishing another traditional haunting Halloween. Jack wanders off alone feeling stuck in his role and who he is. He encounters a door with a tree and opens it! He discovers a different town entirely and is drawn to the joys of Christmas. He asks, what’s this? This king has never seen people so happy and says that in his bones he feels a warmth come from inside.
Old Skellington goes back continually to the question of, what does it mean? Jack couldn’t exactly grasp the how and whys, or even his own feelings. It had been so long since he even felt moved like that; he had been dead so long. He couldn’t deny something was happening within him. The king says about trust, “Just because I cannot see it, doesn’t mean I can’t believe it.” Sounds like faith to me.
Jack comes up with his own understanding and decides to take matters into his own hands. He wants to replicate Christmas and take over. He gets the town’s people to agree to start to work under his direction on how to make Christmas without knowing fully the true meaning.
In the end, many get hurt, disappointed, work in vain, and add to the chaos. The pumpkin king sadly admits, “Everything’s gone wrong, but I never intended this madness.”
Have you ever felt stuck spiritually? Or maybe you grew up in the church and it’s just what you’ve always done but is becoming mundane for you? Is it traditional and you do it because your family does? It’s what’s expected or comfortable and why change, what would people think?
Ever seen the program “Walking Dead?” It’s about zombies, who seem alive but are dead. Are you ready for this…there are zombies in our churches and we could even be one of them! I’m speaking from a spiritual perspective of course. Churches every week are filled with people who go because they just are going through the motions.
Zombie churches may look the same as a healthy church, but the key difference is that it is missing life! Churches with life are about Jesus. Problem is it’s become about other things and not Jesus as the focus of their existence. When we allow God to fill and mold our hearts, we become more like Christ. Without this inward change, our actions are a façade.
Jack the pumpkin king represents the zombie Christian. He was dead, following tradition and so unfulfilled. He was tired and desired more. Religion says you have to do things exactly how we tell you. Our way is right, the rest are wrong. Jack felt stuck in doing what he did. I’ve heard people say that they were born in a certain denomination and would die in it. Proudly declaring in name only going to church on Sunday, or once in a while, but living a life contrary to the faith the rest of the week.
In Revelations 3, God says to the church of Sardis, “I know your deeds, you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.”
G.R. Beasley-Murray wrote about that scripture, saying, “The appearance of the Sardis church is that of a beautifully adorned corpse in a funeral parlour, and the Lord is not deceived.”
Before a relationship with Christ, you are dead spiritually. But some people, as mentioned in Mathew 13:1-13, make a commitment, but never take root, or fall away.
Let’s evaluate our relationship, or church we’re in, and realize where is it at, then do something before it’s too late. Jack knew he was unhappy, but he didn’t know what was missing.
Jack was drawn to Christmas. It touched him like nothing else. The reason for the season is Christ! It’s simple to see it was the Holy Spirit inviting him to choose life through Christ. There are many roads, but only one that leads to Eternal Life. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” We see Jack taking matters into his own hands and, after failing, he accept how he is and sadly doesn’t change.
2 Timothy 3:5 says, “They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.”
Ephesian 5:14 says, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
It’s time to wake up. If we don’t wake up now, it will soon be too late.