Once upon a time there was a beautiful Princess, who lived in a majestic castle in an enchanted kingdom. Her father, the King, and mother, the Queen, loved her very much. The King and Queen gave the Princess a delicate, bejeweled mirror as a reminder of how lovely she was to them. She gazed upon her reflection daily. Light danced in her eyes when she smiled. And she knew. She was beautiful. She was secure. She was loved.
Although they were the rulers of the land, there were many lands in their world, with many other Kings and Queens. They spoke to her of a great and wonderful ruler; the King above all Kings. Every kingdom in every province followed his commands. They taught her how to live by his rules, and that doing so would ensure her safety. She happily lived by those commands and stayed within the Kingdom’s walls.
One day as the Princess danced through a garden of roses and examined her reflection in the mirror, she heard a voice. She turned abruptly and looked behind her. “Come out..” it whispered. She strained her ear to listen more closely, trying to pinpoint the sound. She followed the noise to a crack in the wall surrounding the castle. “Come ouuuuut and play…” it lured. She peered through the crack. There were so many people outside at the edge of the forest, dancing and laughing! She looked behind her towards the castle, knowing that leaving the kingdom would mean disobeying the King’s commands. “Come out Princess, there’s a whole world you’ve never seen…” the voice enticed, this time more loudly. She looked through the crack again, mesmerized by the revelry in front of her. And then she ran.
She ran to the gate, and slipped through the door, glancing back over her shoulder. She took a deep breath and surveyed the scene in front of her. Beautiful maidens sashayed around dashing gentleman who examined their swords. They drank from golden goblets and seemed so worldly. A sophisticated lady approached her with one of the goblets. She gulped and took a sip. The earth spun around her. How exciting! She gazed at her reflection in her mirror and it seemed she was even lovelier than before.
Every night the Princess crept outside the Kingdom gates, dancing and laughing with those on the edge of the forest, venturing in a little further each time. She never missed an opportunity to admire her reflection in the mirror. One night, as she began to head back to the safety of her castle, a young hunter startled her, grabbing her elbow. Her bejeweled mirror slipped from her hands and fell to the ground, shattering. She wept bitterly as he ran back into the woods. She slowly picked up each shard, trying to fit them back into place. It wasn’t the same. She looked at her reflection in the broken mirror, and didn’t recognize herself. Now she could never return to her kingdom because they would know she had disobeyed. And then she ran.
She ran to the edge of another forest in another kingdom. She sought someone who could repair her broken mirror, hoping no one in her own kingdom would discover the truth. She ran and ran. The ladies she encountered and once thought so lovely, seemed superficial. The gentleman, were in fact, hunters masquerading in royal clothing. The pieces of her mirror continued to crack and fall out as she ran. Each time she gazed upon her reflection she was devastated by what she saw. The King and Queen begged her to return to their Kingdom but she couldn’t. As she looked at her jagged reflection in the mirror she knew that she could never be what she once was. She was no longer worthy of love.
And then… she tripped. A twig caught on the edge of her gown and she tumbled to the ground, face first into the dust and dirt. She lay still for a moment. A hand appeared in front of her face. She looked up fearfully. A bright light obscured her rescuer’s image, but she could tell he was royalty. She placed one hand in his and rose slowly from the ground, shielding her eyes with the other. As she lowered her hand to look at the one who had saved her, he was gone. It seemed as if he had vanished into thin air.
The place where she had stumbled was actually a field of wildflowers! Other young princesses danced around gazing into mirrors of their own. These maidens were not as outwardly elegant as those on the edge of the forest, but they were by far lovelier. She wasn’t sure she belonged. Her mirror was so broken and she could never dance like she used to. One of the maidens approached her, she was fair in feature, but had an air of wisdom about her. The Princess looked down. “He wants to see you!” the wise maiden said with a smile. “Me?” the Princess said. She saw the figure of a King in the distance, on the edge of the field. “Go!” the wise maiden urged. The Princess paused, looking at her reflection with regret. She wasn’t fit to be in His presence. “He’s waiting. Go!” she said. The Princess thought about it for a few moments. And then she ran.
She ran towards the King, faster and faster. She ran past the other maidens, past her fears, doubts, and failures. As she ran closer, she came across a box lying on the ground. She stopped. “To My Beautiful Princess, From the King above all Kings” the tag read. She looked for the figure of the King in the distance, but it was gone. She opened the box carefully. Inside, was a card, with the most stunning mirror she had ever seen. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and was utterly shocked. She was so beautiful, so lovely! How could this be? She opened the card. “Beloved, This mirror reflects how I see you” it read. She wept, gratefully. She reached into her pocket for her broken mirror, but it was gone. She replaced it with the one He had given to her. And then she ran.
She ran home. To the arms of the King and Queen, who embraced her with joy. There was a great celebration in the Kingdom; the lost Princess had returned! She looked at her reflection in the mirror given to her by the King above all Kings. Light danced in her eyes when she smiled. And she knew. She was beautiful. She was secure. She was loved.
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fatted calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'” Luke 15:22-2