I am a huge Star Wars fan! Huge! I haven’t really had a lot of opportunity to share that side of myself with the church, but I guess it is time to out myself. The last three Advents, including this one have been spent in equal anticipation of Christmas and new Star Wars films. At the times, the anticipation for Star Wars has been a bit higher.
Last’s year offering, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has a legitimate claim to being one of the best films in the series. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it is the story of a ragtag group of individuals who come together to get the plans for the Empire’s superweapon, the Death Star. The story leads directly into the action of the original 1977 film.
Where the other films follow the Skywalker family and mystical nature of the Force, Rogue One is strictly a war film, showing the overwhelming odds that the Rebel alliance faces in their the struggle against the heartless empire that is willing to sacrifice thousands to prove their power. It is a film that shows the cost of resistance against dominance and oppression.
There is a line said early in the film that is later repeated by the film’s protagonist Jyn Erso. “Rebellions are built on hope”. She utters this line at a point when it seems that the empire is unstoppable and many are considering ending their resistance before it has ever really begun. This line has been a rallying cry for many of us in the last year, but it also brings Advent into focus for me.
Christmas is the start of a rebellion. It is the arrival of a new king to which the rulers of this world will be forced to bow. It is the declaration of the reality of a new kingdom. In these dark days before the arrival of the Christ child, we wait expectantly with the hope and promise that the day represents.
And for what are we hoping? We hope for the day that those who have been oppressed will know freedom. We hope for the day when those who are in power will work on the side of true justice. We hope for a day when all are fed, clothed, and affirmed in their dignity. We hope for the day that love has more power than fear.
The Christian story is one of rebellion and so often it feels like we are on the losing side of things. But rebellions are built on hope and hope is about imagining the world as it could be, in spite of seeing the world as it is. As we enter into this Advent season, I pray that you will join me in imagining a new and better world and preparing your heart to help make that new world a reality.