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Finding faith in the Nutcracker

Ballet Dancers performing The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is a seasonal favorite, but a United Methodist pastor says we can see it in a new way through the lens of faith.


The popularity of the ballet “The Nutcracker” skyrockets during Advent and the Christmas season because of its pageantry, dancing, and timeless classical music. But have you ever wondered what the story is really all about? If so, you’re not alone.

The story is much clearer, says the Reverend Matt Rawle, the lead pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana, if we use a “lens of faith” to look more closely at the characters and the action.

The story actually resonates with strong parallels to our faith and helps us prepare for Christmas, writes Rawle, whose new book and Advent series was published in 2018 by Abingdon Press.

We can see many parallels to our faith in what happens to the characters. Clara, the main character, is at that “in between” age and always waiting: waiting to grow older, waiting for someone, waiting to understand the world. She is loved dearly by her peculiar godfather who gives her a special gift – the Nutcracker. After the Nutcracker later comes to life, he battles the evil Mouse King, only to die in battle. However, the loving godfather resurrects the Nutcracker, who then takes Clara to his kingdom to the acclaim of many who have awaited his return.

Sound familiar?


~ The Rev. Matt Rawle is the lead pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana. Read more at

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