This has been a “Star Wars Christmas.” The promotion surrounding the release of the latest Star Wars movie dominated the Christmas season. Entire aisles were dedicated to Star Wars toys: the Millenium Falcon, Battle Droids, Light Sabers, Chubacca, R2D2, C-3PO, and Yoda. Toys R Us offered Darth Vader and Storm Trooper cups for the older generation. Star Wars smashed all box office records raking in $238 million on its opening weekend.
My oldest son was four when the first Star Wars movie premiered. He is now 42. Across the years the characters have changed. Droids come and go (except for R2D2 and C3PO who somehow survive). One theme remains constant in every Star Wars movie: the battle between evil and good, the Dark Side and the Force. The Force for good always triumphs. Good overcomes evil and hope remains.
It is the timeless theme of human history. The Dark Side represents tyranny, lust for power, absolute control, hate and revenge without regard for the individual. The Force represents freedom, individuality, respect for persons, the value of life and love, sacrifice for the good of others and hope for the future. Perhaps this is one of the reason Star Wars has “stuck around.”
Star Wars is fiction. But the battle between good and evil is real. We see it all around us. With every news report: Paris, San Bernardino, the Boston bombing, 9/11, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Charleston, SC. Graft, greed, corruption, drugs, murder, abuse. The news media continually reports the darkness that seeks to overwhelm us.
This Christmas thousands of family members will mourn the loss of loved ones who have been stolen away by the evil among us. More than 3,000 died in the Twin Towers, and thousands others have perished in senseless slayings, beheadings and massacres around the world. In all of these cases we are left confused and hopeless unless we have “The Story” to help us.
“The Story” is the Christmas story. It is the defining story of good and evil, the reason Jesus was born. Jesus was sent as light to overcome the darkness. “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5). Hundreds of years before He was born, Isaiah wrote, “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation might reach to the ends of the earth.: (Isaiah 49:6). Jesus said, “This is the verdict, Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19).
Jesus was born into an evil and unjust world. King Herod sought to wipe out any threat to his throne by slaughtering the children of Bethlehem. Jesus was only spared by the wisdom of his step-father Joseph, who fled with him to the distant deserts of Egypt after he was warned in a dream.
Unlike Star Wars, Jesus’ triumph does not come by rallying others to rebellion and war. His triumph comes by overcoming evil with good, by refusing to curse those who cursed him, by enduring the Cross and forgiving his tormentors. His triumph came through the Resurrection and the transformation of human hearts through faith in Him.