“hope has come into the world and we are witnesses of this hope”
In 1977, George Lucas’s A New Hope, was released and Luke, ObiWan, Princess Leia, Hans Solo, Chewbacca, R2D2 and C3PO became household names. This story of hope overcoming the dark menacing evil of the dark side made our imaginations soar.
In A New Hope, we watch Luke leave his self-focused and self-absorbed ways to throw himself into the battle for freedom, and literally, risk his life for a broader community. One moment he is whining to his uncle Owen, “…but I was going to go pick up some power converters…” and the next he is in the fight of his life, risking it all, to save the rebellion and destroy the evil encroaching upon his world.
Granted when the movie came out, I identified more with Luke, ready to take on the evil in the world, but now I am more of an ObiWan character…
There are many parallels between this story and the story of Christmas. Luke’s aunt and uncle were not his parents and like Zechariah & Elizabeth, they are barren and fruitless. Even the planet they are living on is a desolate wasteland dried and empty of all opportunity. Seemingly, so insignificant, Imperial Forces paid them little attention.
Israel while self-governing does so under the command of Rome with their own provincial ruler. Their so-called Jewish King, Herod, came to be king through bribery and barbarism. So too the Emperor in George Lucas’s myth. When Herod hears the news from the King-seeking-Magi, we find him “…disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.”
When your king is a madman, you become disturbed when he is disturbed. When you are ruled by one who considers people a means to an end, the troubling of your leader creates trouble for you! Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, and countless others existed in this empire of evil and the whole world groaned under the weight of its oppression.
Such was the fate of Luke’s adoptive parents as we are introduced to them in the first release of the Star Wars movies. Darkness. Oppression. Desperation. All words describing their difficult existence while living under the cloud evil. While the story is fiction, their situation describes well the darkness of evil.
Hope in the midst of darkness stories make for box office hits. We immerse ourselves in their stories identifying with the beaten, enslaved and hopeless knowing our hope will come. Stories where our hero or heroine come from unlikely places and especially those who seem unprepared for the task gain our closest attention. As we watch their character develop, usually with trips, stumbles and then recovery, we begin seeing them as the hope rising in their midst.
What if it wasn’t just a story?
What if the story was not fiction but history? Hope has entered into the world in the coming of Christ. He was born into a world of evil and darkness. He came as Light in the midst of darkness.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. —John 1:1-5
Christ came into the world. Hope in the midst of evil. Light in the midst of darkness. Darkness has not overcome it, cannot understand it and cannot extinguish this true light…
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world… 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.—John 1:9, 14
Jesus Christ, our only Hope, entered our darkness and Hope was born. We celebrate this Light-piercing darkness and Hope overcoming evil entering our lives every Christmas.
True God. Real People. Lasting Hope.