Up next on Christian Parallels in the movies is “The Land Before Time.” I remember watching this movie as a kid and balling my eyes out every time… Well guys, watching the movie as an adult with my six children… I still cried… maybe even harder.
The movie opens with the narrator describing a great drought causing the dinosaur herds to be on the move heading towards a great oasis known as The Great Valley. He states that the herds only stop to hatch their young. We see several species of dinosaurs hatching their young, as we are focused in on the “Long Necks” who only have one baby to carry on for their herd. He is our main character, Little Foot.
Little Foot’s mom explains to him the need to get to the Great Valley and how marvelous it will be. He asks her how she knows if she’s ever seen it. To which she responds, somethings you see with your eyes, somethings you see with your heart. Of course, the young dinosaur does not understand, but he will soon.
Soon after this, Little Foot attempts to play with a Triceratops names Cerra. However, her dad interjects telling Cerra that “Three Horns” do not play with “Long Necks.”
Little Foot asks his mom what’s a “Long Neck?” And she basically tells him all species stick to their own kind and do not intermingle.
That evening Little Foot follows a hopper into a pond. Cerra is there too. The two of them play happily until they meet Sharp-Tooth. Little Foot’s mom comes to their rescue, but she is hurt badly. During all this, the ground begins to shake. The narrator claims this to be the continental divide. Cerra is separated from her family. Little Foot is separated from his grandparents.
And Little Foot’s mom is about to die. She reminds him how to get to the Great Valley and encourages him to follow his heart. His heart will lead him.
However, the young dinosaur is struck with grief. He doesn’t even notice his own hunger. Eventually he falls onto another dinosaur, Rooter, and says it’s all her fault. She should have known better than to take on a Sharp Tooth.
The wise dinosaur tells Little Foot that it’s nobody’s fault, not his mom’s, not his. It’s part of the circle of life. But that she is never really gone if you follow what she taught you.
Little Foot is guided by his mom’s voice, “Follow the bright circle past the rock that looks like a Long Neck, past the mountains that burn. I’ll be in your heart, Little Foot. Let your heart be your guide.”
Soon after, Little Foot sees Cerra and is overjoyed to see her. But she is proud and still determined to only talk to Three-Horns.
But through a series of events, Little Foot is brought together with Ducky, a big mouth, Petrie, a flightless flier, and Spike, a newly hatched spiked tail. Together they set off for the Great Valley.
Cerra learns that Sharp Tooth did not die. She is scared to be alone, so she joins the herd.
They are all hungry and tired. But Little Foot pushes them on. Knowing in his heart that are on their way to the Great Valley. But also denying that Sharp Tooth is alive.
Eventually they come to tree with leaves at the top. Little Foot, Ducky, Petrie, and Spike work together to pull those leaves down. Meanwhile, Cerra sits back and laughs at how ridiculous they look. Once they are all feasting, Little Foot invites Cerra to eat. She refuses saying she can get her own food. She rams her horns into a tree trunk. Nothing. She does it again. Nothing. As she goes to do it a third time, Little Foot throws some leaves down for her. She proudly humps and eats her food.
Then they all learn that Sharp Tooth is alive. Cerra decides she wants to go her own way. It is easier. And the rest of the tribe agrees. Little Foot carries on while Cerra leads her companions in the wrong direction.
Trouble is brewing. Little Foot comes in and helps his friends. Together they get out of the mess. However, Cerra is still too proud to admit she was wrong. She goes her own way.
As the herd carries on, they hear Sharp Tooth and decide to get rid of him once and for all. They have a plan for Ducky to be the bait luring Sharp Tooth to the dark area of the lake. Then Little Foot and Spike will push a giant boulder on his head. During this time, Petrie learns to fly. However, Little Foot and Spike are unable to move the boulder. Luckily Cerra return and help them push the rock over the edge, taking out Sharp Tooth and saving Ducky. However, they fear they lost Petrie. But good news, he shows back up.
After all this, Little Foot lies alone hearing his mom’s voice in the clouds. He tells her he tried, but it’s just too hard. She tells him to follow his heart and starts to fade away. Little Foot chases the cloud and finds… The Great Valley!!!
It’s everything they hoped it would be. All the dinosaurs are reunited with their families, but more importantly, they stick together.
Let’s start with the obvious. All of these dinosaurs were on the same journey to the Great Valley in the beginning, but they stuck to their own kinds. Prejudice much! Some of those herds were much more vocal and prouder of their kind than others, but all followed the unwritten rule to stick to your own kind. Until the day of the Great Shake. Now families have been separated, and they need each other. No one wants to be alone. No one. Not even the proud Cerra.
This is a great representation of Christianity. We all have the same goal- Heaven! Yet, for some reason we are prejudice against others who worship differently, sin differently, or live differently than we do. It doesn’t make any sense in the movie, and it doesn’t make sense in real life. But it really is just the way it is due to our sin nature. We want to be comfortable, so we stick to what we know.
However, when our world shakes, we are anything but comfortable and willing to look at others in a different light.
I’m just going to throw this out there- I don’t think God wants us to be comfortable. Because when we are comfortable, we miss out on His blessings. It’s when we are uncomfortable, we admit our need for help, our need for a Savior. It’s in those moments we look to God for strength, guidance, and peace.
Throughout the movie we are drawn to the relationship between Little Foot and Cerra. From the beginning there’s a potential friendship blooming. But due to prejudices, it does not easily form. Even once they are traveling together, Cerra hold her values and views. At one point she even leads her companion astray due to her pride. Yet it’s her same pride that causes her to leave her new tribe.
Pride. A sin that everyone struggles with. Pride is a sneaky little lie told by the enemy that you know best. You are the best. You can do whatever you want. Pride is Cerra’s problem in the movie. And if I’m being honest, it’s a sin I struggle with regularly.
Living in America, I can make my own money. I can buy my own food. I can buy my own needs and wants. While I do recognize my job as a blessing from God and the way he provides for me, it’s easy to think that I did all that.
When I look at other cultures, it’s easy to think my way is the best way. It’s easy to think they should conform to my liking, instead of embracing our differences. Forgetting God made each and everyone one of us in His image, perfectly and wonderfully made…. I prefer easy.
That’s how Cerra convinced the other dinosaurs to go her way. It was easier. Easy is not always the best way. In fact, in this movie, easy was a trap, a distraction to NOT make it to their chosen destination.
Easy will not get you to your chosen location- Heaven. Doing God’s work is not always going to be easy. It will take work. “Do not be conformed by the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of mind… (Romans 12:2)”
Don’t be led into sin by the temptation of easy. Don’t be led away from your values by easy. Embrace the challenge knowing God will never leave you or forsake you.
No one wants to be alone. And thank God He sent Jesus, so we wouldn’t have to be.
After Little Foot’s mom died, she still led the way for him. She was in his heart. She had taught him about faith and after grieving her loss, Little Foot had faith. In this movie, the way Little Foot’s mom speaks to him after her death is similar to how God speaks to His people- in their hearts. Some people do hear the audible voice of God. I am not one of those fortunate people. But He does speak to my heart. He does give me nudges. He leads me in directions I cannot understand. (Point to case writing a blog about “The Land Before Time.”) God speaks to each person differently; it’s not a one size fits all formula- it’s a relationship. But just like Little Foot’s mom appeared at the needed time, so does God. But God is always there. The whole time. We are just not always looking for Him.
Sometimes… ahem.. Often… God appears by sending His people. Much like Little Foot arriving to save his friends or Cerra coming through to push the boulder. God’s people are God’s chosen source of blessings to other Christians.
That little nudge at your heart. That feeling you just can’t shake. That’s probably the Holy Spirit directing to help, encourage, or support a fellow Christian.
No one wants to do this alone. In the movie, a herd of misfits were brought together after a disaster to help each other and keep each other safe. We too have a similar mission. Help our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Love them. Model Christ. And make disciples of all nations.
Alone we are bait for Sharp Tooth… or another common enemy- Satan… Together we are stronger. Together we can reach our chosen location. Despite all prejudices. Lay down your pride. We need you. We can do it together.