Star Wars is back for Christmas. This week, December 20, the final episode, The Rise of Skywalker, hits the theaters. McDonalds Happy Meals are stuffed with Star Wars holograms of Yoda, R2D2, C3PO, Darth Vader and 12 other well-known Star War characters. Light sabers and remote control droids are vying for space under the Christmas tree.
My oldest son was three when the first Star Wars movie premiered in 1977. He is now 46. Across the years new characters have emerged. Droids have come and gone (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, 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 reasons Star Wars has “stuck around.”
Star Wars is fiction. But the battle between good and evil is real. We see it all around us. In August of this year 22 people were gunned down in a Walmart in El Paso. 26 were killed at First Baptist Sutherland Springs, TX in 2017. We all remember 9/11, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Charleston, SC. Graft, greed, corruption, drugs, murder, abuse. The news continually reports the darkness that seeks to overwhelm us. 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 Joseph, who fled with Jesus and Mary 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. Unlike Star Wars, the Jesus story is not fiction. It is documented in history and authenticated in 2,000 years of personal experience. He will prevail. He will overcome. And He will come again!