“There’s been an awakening…”
These are the first words ever heard from the new film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” when the original teaser trailer debuted about a year ago. From that point until last night, there has been an advent of sorts as fans, casual and passionate alike, awaited the release of the new film. In many ways, it was shrouded in secrecy with little knowledge released, recycled footage in each subsequent trailer or commercial, and gag orders put on everyone who worked on the film. So, even in our age of over-abundant information, I sat with my friends last night with relatively no idea where the film was headed. Even as the opening text crawl began, I was amazed to discover the true plot of the film, which was not at all what I expected it to be, and the surprises continued for the next two and a half hours. Then, it was over. I enjoyed it, but there was a strange emptiness I had, probably because of the years of anticipation which was finally over. All the waiting and wondering – it was done.
A friend of mine looked a little disappointed leaving the theater, and he remarked, “I was just hoping I would get that same feeling I got when I saw “A New Hope” for the first time.” In a way, I think I was maybe hoping for the same thing, but we both agreed that was far to much pressure and expectation to put on the film, and on our view of the film as well (it was a really good film, by the way).
“Comfort ye my people…”
Those are the words of the trailer of sorts for the coming of the Messiah. We spend each December in preparation to remember the Advent (coming) of Immanuel, but what are we preparing for? Are we preparing for parties and gifts and programs? Does life speed up this time of year and we blow past it just trying to get to that 25th day? The difference here is that we don’t need gag orders and secrecy, because we already know the end of the story. But, what happens when we retell that story? Maybe you’ll hear it this year at church, or around the dinner table, or sitting in your PJs on Christmas morning just before opening presents. After you hear the story, what will your reaction be?
Is it just the thing you’re supposed to do on Christmas morning?
Are you just getting it out of the way so you can feel like you acknowledged Christ before getting to the “fun part?”
Do you ever hear the Christmas story (or get through the holiday itself) and say to yourself, “I was just hoping I would get that same feeling when I heard that story for the first time?”
I know for me, there is a magic that seems to have gone out of Christmas. Maybe it’s the bill for the presents, or the extra work at church, or even the distance from family, but it just doesn’t seem the same, and I get the feeling that I’m not alone.
Maybe it’s time for an Advent Awakening. A stirring in our heart back toward the light (Star Wars pun intended). There’s something mysterious and magical about God becoming a man and showing us His Word in human form, something way more magical than anything George or J.J. or Disney or anyone else has ever imagined.
So, this Christmas, allow yourself to be inspired by the birth of Christ again. Allow your heart to be stirred by the mystery of the virgin birth in a dirty cave, and most importantly about the beginning of the earthly life of a little boy who would crush a greater evil than “The Dark Side,” the evil of all the human race. Bringing light and life to humanity and restoring us back to God in the way He always intended.