This poignant tale was written by Hans Christian Anderson and published in 1845. The author came to life on the movie screen as Danny Kaye recreated some of his stories. He was portrayed as a wonderful story teller who delighted children down through the ages. His most favored stories came in the form of fairy tales with a moral at the end.
The story of “The Little Match Girl,” is one of those tear jerking tales that really tugs at your heart strings. It’s about a young girl who sells matches. This was a time before child labor laws were in effect. This young girl came from an abusive home. Her father would not let her return home until she’d sold every single match. She was overlooked by the elite in the city – viewed as a vagrant – doing whatever she could to survive. In other words, this child had a crummy life. Her situation is unfortunately like many children today who live in poverty – move from place to place to avoid the law – sometimes homeless and often starving, for food and/or affection.
As the story progresses and the winter blizzard continues to bear down on her, she uses the matches to keep herself warm. She no longer wears the shoes that once were worn by her mother. As the child slowly freezes to death, she has visions of her dead grandmother and all the wonderful things she can muster from her memory. Those thoughts sustain her as she eventually dies and enters heaven.
As we go through life, we can be like this child. We may be going through a rough patch. Maybe our problems are about material things. Everything seems to intensify during this season. Our emotions are at an all time high. Our thoughts turn to a car that may not make it through the year. You may experience job loss or property. Maybe you’re going through Cancer treatments or trying to figure out why you’re in pain. You could be having relationship issues, parenting problems, feelings of depression and sadness at a time that should be filled with joy. You feel guilty for feeling any of these things.
The beauty of this story is that she never gave up hope. Hope, to this girl, meant she would no longer have to suffer through poverty and abuse. She’d be with those who had died before her. She realizes that this life is not the end of living.
She dies at the end of the story, but she with a smile on her face. Because of her faith, she now experiences perfect peace. What a blessing to know that our salvation has already been won for us. Jesus was born for every human being that has, does, and will live. He took everyone’s sin to the grave and buried them so we could have eternal life in paradise.
Instead of looking back at our lives, we should reassess what’s happening in the here-and-now and the future.. We can’t change what happened before, so we move on with confidence that our eternal home is waiting for us. God’s promise has been fulfilled and now we wait for His second coming.