I grew up adoring the Shirley Temple version of the movie, A Little Princess. The main character, Sara Crewe, was so noble, so loving, so good. She was a little rich girl who was kind to those less fortunate, who held her temper when dealing with cruel people, and in general, wanted to make her papa proud. Even when life got hard and she was no longer rich, she still tried to do what was right, helping those who were in worse circumstances than her own and turning the other cheek when cruel people abused her. I wished I could be as virtuous as Sara.
I never watched later versions of the movie, guess I wanted to keep only Shirley Temple in my visual memory. And I’m ashamed to admit that I never read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s book that inspired the films until recently. While there are differences in plot, I see no difference in theme. Love your neighbor, do good to those who hate you.
A Little Princess is not a Christmas story, but I always associate it with the season, perhaps, because of the scene where the Indian gentleman provides a magical surprise for the mistreated little girl next door. Poor Sara, who had been sleeping in an unheated attic room, with only a thin blanket, wakes up to a fire in the grate, breakfast on a brand new table, and warm blankets (plural!) covering her. She hops out of bed and discovers a thick, plush robe to wear, gifts of books and furniture… so many wonderful gifts like Christmas morning!
Sara often spoke about being a kind princess or a brave soldier. The first takes good care of her subjects; the second follows orders and doesn’t complain. As a Christian, I am a daughter of the King, a princess. My Father showers me with gifts every day. I want to treat others the way my Good Father expects me to. At the same time I am a soldier for Christ. Life isn’t always easy, but I am to press on, completing my mission and seeking further orders from my Commander-In-Chief for the next task.
Sara Crewe is a wonderful literary example of Christian character. Her desire to be kind to all people no matter their station in life combined with her courage in facing adversity and doing the right thing make her a role model for every child. If you’ve never read the book or seen the movie, get to the library! If it’s a story you know, make it a family tradition. The networks serve up It’s A Wonderful Life and Christmas Story every December. Along with a million other families, we watch both movies every year. How about adding A Little Princess to the line-up?
May you enjoy the blessings of giving as much as the Indian gentleman took joy in providing for Sara, and may you receive gifts with the same pure gratitude that Sara expressed to her generous benefactor. Merry Christmas!