Christmas 2016

Star warsMy all-age talk for Christmas morning was about Star Wars and Easter eggs! I’m posting this now in memory of Carrie Fisher, who very sadly died this week.

As part of the service,I do a ‘show your presents’ slot – this year mine was a hoodie with a picture of Darth Vader and the quote “I find you lack of faith disturbing”! I then used that in my talk.

My talk was helped by Josh Larsen’s blogpost on Think Christian, called The Scale of Hope. Before the talk, we watched the Well Good News of Christmas, produced by the Bible Society (it’s also worth saying that it’s quite difficult, but not impossible, to find Easter eggs that have a best before date of after Christmas…!)

Christmas morning 2016

As you may have realised, one of my favourite films is the original Star Wars film, A New Hope. That was the film that introduced us to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and the rest. And of course, Darth Vader.

The film is called A New Hope, but for most of the film the hope is only a small, flickering hope. The Empire’s ships are huge, there are hundreds of soldiers wherever you look, and the Death Star can destroy planets. The bad things are enormous, they fill the screen. And the new hope is only small, barely visible. Princess Leia’s message is only a few inches high, the droids are dwarfed by the size of the desert they have to walk through, and Luke is a bit short for a Stormtrooper!

The video we watched was called The Well Good News of Jesus. But it could easily have been called A New Hope. But that doesn’t start or end with Christmas.

We’ve lit the Advent Candles to remind us of some of the people who were looking forward to Jesus. And the video we watched reminded us that people were watching and waiting for Jesus to come.

And then Jesus was born. Born in some sort of stable, and his first bed was a manger. A small hope, a hope so tiny that most people didn’t even realise that it, he, was there. And that’s despite shining  angels, and over-excited shepherds, and lost Wise men! A new hope, but a hope that took many years to be seen.

Lots of you have already unwrapped at least some of your presents. If you had any of them under the tree for the last few days, I wonder how many of you wanted to unwrap them? Because as pretty as the wrapping might look, we want to find out what’s inside the wrapping.

And the video we saw didn’t end with Christmas either. It carried on going, carried on through Easter and beyond. Because, we celebrate Christmas because of Easter. We have presents at Christmas, to remind us of God’s present of Jesus. And we have Easter eggs at Easter.

What do you have to do to eat an Easter egg? You have to break it.

Eggs have to be broken to let new life out. Jesus had to die to be raised to new life, and so that we all could share in the presents of God’s love and God’s everlasting life. Things have to break and die for new life to be released. Presents have to be unwrapped and used. So let’s hand round the chocolate. <handed round Easter egg, sweets and grapes – for those who don’t like chocolate!>

We like the presents better than the wrapping, like the chocolate better than the shiny foil.

One of the other things about the first Star Wars film is that most of the characters don’t believe in what turns out to be the most important power, the Force. They don’t think that there’s anything beyond what they can see, they don’t realise the importance of the things beyond their understanding or imagination. “Use the Force Luke” keeps on being said, because Luke isn’t.

Or, as Darth Vader says, when he’s demonstrating that the Force is more powerful “I find your lack of faith disturbing”. Hence my present.

People didn’t spot the New Hope. People didn’t notice that there was more going on than they could see. The new hope that Jesus gives us, is the present of God’s love. It’s a present that we can unwrap, and go on unwrapping, go on finding more and more about. It’s the things that we barely notice and the things that we can’t see that are the most important things. A tiny baby and the present of God’s love, giving each one of us New Hope. Amen.


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