How many of you have already seen the new Star Wars film I wonder?
The Star Wars fans in my house were counting down to its release with almost as much anticipation as for Christmas! Any trailer or preview was eagerly devoured, and analysed…“what do you think it will be like?”
They weren’t disappointed, I’ll probably wait for the DVD, and I’m not going to give any spoilers either!
There is definitely a bit of a space theme in the air this Christmas, what with the Force Awakening and a British astronaught in space -boldly going where no redheads have gone before!
And then there’s the John Lewis advert…
A man out in space, on the moon, on his own?
It’s a bit of a mystery this one.
Is he lonely? In which case isn’t a telescope so he can see everyone else having fun a bit of a cruel gift!?
Or is he wanting to be isolated, distant somehow, leaving them all to get on with it!
It’s a short film which can be interpreted in many ways, whether or not it makes people do their shopping at john Lewis I don’t know, and last I checked they didn’t deliver to the moon yet –I hope Tim Peake took his presents up with him!
There is a quotation often attributed to the first man in space Yuri Gagarin, but was actually said about him by the then President Khruschev ; that he’d flown into space and hadn’t seen God… a neat line for the leader of an atheist state to use in his anti God rhetoric.
For many people the idea of God is of someone “out there”, perhaps not logically in space, but distant, removed from our world, if he/she /it exists at all.
The understanding of God is rather like the man on the moon in the John Lewis advert. Someone watching from afar, leaving us to get on with it.
“Surely”, we say, if God was God he’d do something about everything that’s going on in our world”
Wouldn’t he help?
The message of Christmas, is that yes he would, and yes he did.
For thousands of years the prophets of Israel were bringing out trailers and previews of God’s great plan, the Messiah was as eagerly awaited as a blockbuster movie,
We read many of the word of these prophets in our Christmas services, they herald the hope that God will come and save his people.
The last of these previews came in the form of John the Baptist, Jesus’s cousin, who said “ he’s here , he’s coming and he’s going to be a world changer”
God’s plan for our world , for us, was not to remain distant, nor to “ sort us out” by remote control, like a sort of divine drone mission.
Instead God came himself.
And he came not like an alien invasion, but as one of us , as a child
Into the world in the same way we all came, born of a human mother.
Jesus was God and he was human,
And in him lived everything of God and everything of humanity..
God came to live with us, to dwell with us, literally to pitch his tent alongside ours.
That image speaks to our world today, God is alongside us, moving with us – tents are mobile, not static, our world is fast moving, ever changing, many people are forced to keep moving; but at our core we are the same human beings, with the same needs and emotions.
Jesus lived our human life, he knew sadness and joy, pain and rejoicing just as we do
God with us came to show us a way of living that was and is radically different;
loving our enemies and doing good to those who hate us.
But the key thing is that these are not dictats from afar.
Jesus is the New Hope for our world, he is God among us,
He is the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not put it out.
In his death and resurrection he conquered the power of death,
And he offers to us a new way of living, a way that will change the world,
Not from the outside but from within, from us.
When we allow him to live with us, when we acknowledge our need of this new life and hope, then the force of God’s transforming love will truly awaken in us; and the light that can never be put out shines in us.
The Kingdom of God is not far off,
Peace on earth is not a distant nice idea.
Jesus didn’t just come as a little baby to look cute in Nativity plays
He really did come to change the world, but not on his own., although he’s perfectly capable!
He calls us to join with him in this work of transformation. This re-creation, which begins with our own turn around, our own change.
He calls us to be the answer to the question “ so what is God doing about it?”
and we need to chose what our response to him will be
Will we acknowledge him as God, and allow the light to shine in our darkness, to change our world and our lives
Or would we rather God at a distance, left in the manger,
So near and yet so far.
This Christmas, how will you answer the question
“what on earth is God doing?”
God is with us, the Light shining in the darkness.
Will you carry that light in his world?