This is one of the most classic of the Disney Classics; and one of their few stories that isn’t adapted from an external source. It is really a sweet movie about love and our capacity to love others, even more than ourselves. What I see here is a nice glimpse at how Jesus lived his Earth-bound life, and what he was willing to give up for the sake of his True Love.
The story begins at Christmas and Jim Dear gives Darling a puppy who they name Lady. She quickly becomes the princess of the house. It’s a fancy house in an up class neighborhood where, as The Tramp points out, “Even the trees have cages.” As Lady grows, she’s given a collar with a license. She’s also fed coffee and doughnuts in her bowl for breakfast. We can only imagine what she has for dinner.
The Tramp, on the other hand, lives off in the town with no real place to call “home”. It seems as if he wakes up in a different place every morning. He doesn’t have a collar, and of course no license. He doesn’t have a master to give him food, but he never worries about where his next meal will come from.
When we look at how Jesus lived His Earthly life there are clear parallels. Firstly, Jesus didn’t have a bed or even a home. He never worried about where His next meal would come from, and He certainly didn’t worry about fancy clothes. But we know He enjoyed fine dining and really lived life to the fullest, not missing out on anything. He promises that we, too, can live without worry, because our Father in Heaven knows our needs more than we do. He’ll take care of us, just as He takes care of the Birds and Flowers… or in this case, the dogs.
The Tramp looks out for other dogs in town. He has the amazing ability to never get caught by the dogcatcher. When Lady escapes from Aunt Sarah, he helps her get the muzzle off and as they are running away, Lady gets caught by the dogcatcher. But her license is her ticket home. That night, The Tramp comes by to see what happened and a rat climbs into the bedroom of the baby. Lady is chained up because of Aunt Sarah, and can’t stop the rat. Tramp goes in to save the baby and succeeds, but of course he gets trapped. When the dogcatcher comes, he says that they are going to put Tramp down as they’ve, “Been after this one for a long time.” Thankfully, Jim Dear, Darling, Trusty and Jock rescue him. And they all live happily ever after.
Watching Tramp evade capture reminded me of the bible verse, “But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” from the Gospel of Luke. It’s where the people of Nazareth tried to throw Jesus off a cliff. Jesus couldn’t be caught at all, unless of course He allowed Himself to be. The Tramp is a good visual of that. The dogcatcher didn’t stand a chance of catching Tramp until Tramp intentionally risked his security for the love of Lady. Jesus eventually got captured. I imagine the Sanhedrin said something along the lines of, “We’ve been after this One for a long time.” He allowed himself to be capture and even killed, all to protect His love, the Church. Thankfully, death was no match for Jesus and we’ll live happily ever after, too.
This is a simple Exploration, but hopefully it will give children a better understanding of the kind of Person Jesus is. The Tramp was a fun character, not a stuffed-shirt bore. Jesus is fun, too. He knows what it means to live freely and He wants us to experience that as well. I love the line Tramp tells Lady, “Open your eyes to what a dog’s life can really be!” This is a lot like what Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
- The Tramp was poor and had no house, he didn’t get food in a bowl, like Lady, Jock and Trusty did, but he didn’t worry about any meal. He didn’t have a license or even a collar. During Jesus’ life on Earth, He lived a similar way. He didn’t have a house. Jesus didn’t worry about where His next meal would come from, but He told us not to worry about food and clothes. Why didn’t Jesus worry? Why shouldn’t we worry? (Matthew 8:20, Matthew 6:32-33)
- The Tramp often helped his friends escape the dogcatcher, but he never got caught because he was so smooth. Did you know Jesus was like that too? He could get out of any trouble. Once He walked right through a crowd that wanted to kill Him and they never caught Him. Pretty cool, huh? (Luke 4:14-30)
- Eventually, Tramp did get caught, because he wanted to help his Lady protect the baby from the rat. Tramp probably knew he’d get caught by helping, but he did it anyway, because he loved Lady. In a similar way, Jesus allowed Himself to get caught and killed by the Religious Leaders of the Temple so He could help His True Love, us! It might make us sad to think that Jesus did that for us. Perhaps Lady felt like it was her fault that Tramp was taken by the dogcatcher. Instead of feeling sad, let’s be happy that someone loves us that much! (Philippians 2:8; John 15:13; Galatians 2:20)