The New York Times calls it "an astounding display of cultural, and commercial domination on a global scale. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" scored over half a billion dollars in ticket sales its opening weekend last week. The story spans four decades and has been, arguably, a story that has framed the meaning of life, of the human conflict between good and evil for many. I remember seeing it in 1977. A long time ago in a galaxy far away...
Stories are a very important part of our lives. They help teach us truths about life and death and everything in between of which we otherwise would have little understanding.
The Ancient Greek word for story is mythos and literally means story. It's where we get the word myth, and in our modern mind, our enlightenment mind we think of myths as false. And that is a shame because we lose something of ourselves when that happens. Gabrielle Roth tells us that, "Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories or finding comfort in silence is where we experience the loss of soul. Dancing, singing storytelling and silence are the four universal healing salves."
I believe that is the reason so many come to Christmas Eve services every year, often the only time they come to a church. (Easter is the other exception) I've heard colleagues complain about these Christmas/Easter people, but if they think about it there is probably a very good reason they show up on those days.
Those are the days we simply tell a really great story.
A long time ago in a Galilee far, far away... A force awakened. It had been foretold by the prophets and sages. There would come a time when the creator of the universe would make its presence known in a new, powerful way. This creator, given many names by many people would make a home among us. We named him Emmanuel. God with us.
This force, this God came to us as a child, and as any newborn would, invited us to into a life of love and care. And the world was changed forever.
This story, the Christmas story, is a story of love, a love that is more powerful than any other power in the whole universe. It is a love that brings peace, joy and hope. This love is a power greater than fear, greater than evil, greater than even death. This love, this power never ends.
And we are all inheritors of this power of love. We don't need Jedi Knights to keep peace in the galaxy. We have the power to do that. We don't need light sabers to ward off evil. The light we hold within us is a greater light than any light saber.
The best part of this story is this power of love is present now. It is not in some heaven light years away. It is here in this place, in this time, in this moment. Don't believe me? You'd rather look for a Jedi Knight to save the day? You'd rather carry a light saber just to feel safer?
Ok. I get that. We probably all feel that way at times.
But remember the story we are telling on this day. This Christmas Story is only the beginning. The child grows to become a man. He tells us that we are the light of the world. When we truly believe that the world becomes a better place, not just for you and me, but for all.
What an amazing gift we have received. It didn't cost us anything. We didn't earn this gift and we cannot lose it.
God bless us everyone!