For the past few days, I've been living in a fantasy world. A world of dwarfs, reigndeer, Mickey Mouse, Santa Claus, and everything in between. It was the world that a man named Walt Disney created to be enjoyed by children around the world-whether the children are 8, 28, or 68. And from around the world they come. To the surprise of myself and my family, we have found that the average visitor to this magical kingdom does not speak English. We have felt like a bit of a minority with our white skin throughout the week. Last night at Epcot center, they combined a lazer show with a fireworks display to the song "Peace on Earth". To listen to the music and to watch the fireworks explode over a pond surrounded by buildings representing numerous countries from around the world, I couldn't help but think about how wonderful heaven will be with so many different types of people from around the world.
I honestly feel like I've been reliving my childhood over the past few days. The last time I was in Disney World was when I was five and all I remember is the Dumbo ride and It's a Small World. Now that I am older, I can take all the sights in and log them in my memory.
Here is a good question to ask: How likely is it that a place such as Disney World could have originated in a non-Western country? The answer is not very likely at all. It has not always been assumed by people throughout history that childhood is something to be valued. I can hardly imagine Disney World originating in a Muslim or a Buddhist country ( The reason why Disney world could not have originated in a Muslim country is because the painting of living forms is considered idolatrous. Buddhism isn't likely to produce Disney World either because of its emphasis on absence of desire). Neither could I imagine the society in which Jesus was born extolling the values of childlike wonder and imagination. As Westerners, we believe in art and inspiration and imagination as values largely because the founder of Western Civilization (at least the good parts of it) believed that the Kingdom of God had to be entered as a child- an idea that would have been considered preposterous in His day.
So whether the man Walt Disney was a Christian or not, his ideas could have only found their fullest expression in a society that values childlike faith and imagination. It may have taken 1,900 years for ideas such as this to develop, but develop they did. And the world is a better place because of it. It is in this sense that the gospel of Jesus is good news for everyone. Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu children enjoy Mickey Mouse just as much as Christian children do. The values that Jesus introduced to the world enrich all of our lives. Our Savior is so good that much of the world agrees with His teachings whether they realize it or not.
So the next time you see Mickey Mouse, Pluto, and Goofey and you remember the wonders of your childhood, you can thank the man who made it possible. The man who inspired Walt Disney. His name is Jesus Christ.