Last year, a particularly dark film came out entitled Children of Men. It is about the world in the year 2027 where no children have been born for 18 years. Imagine a world like that. A world with no need for toys. Churches with no children or youth. The doors of Kenyon College closing because no children are growing up to take the place of the current students. No children’s laughter or playgrounds. No hope for the future. But injected into this film, shot with grey and brown as primary colors, is a pregnant girl. Her name is Kee, and she is the key to the future of the world. The plot of the film is to get Kee and her baby out of the present world situation and onto a mysterious, and considered by many to be an purely mystical, ship owned by an organization known as “The Human Project.” The protagonist is interestingly named Theo, the word for “God.” Kee names her baby after Theo’s son, the metaphor being that he is the son of God. In the film, all who see Kee’s swollen belly are shocked and exclaim with surprise: “Jesus Christ!” Profanity turns to prophecy. The film ends with the Human Project’s ship pulling alongside the little rowboat where Kee is sitting holding her baby riding the waves, like Mary riding on a donkey. Theo is also in the boat, but he has been killed in his attempt to bring hope to the world. And we are left with only hope and anticipation of what this baby will mean to a barren and hopeless world and what will happen as a result — a symbol of Advent.
One of the things which makes the film interesting is that the two sides, which are fighting and killing off an already dying race, are each trying to use the baby for their own purposes. They want the baby so they can get the remaining masses to come over to their side. Neither are content to allow the baby to simply be a baby. If we had read just one more verse in our Gospel lesson for today, we would have heard Jesus say, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). The kingdom of God is often forcibly opposed by violent, hostile people. There are always those who want to use Christ for their own political purposes and ends. But nothing can hinder or hold back the kingdom of God. It would be like trying to stop the sunrise, trying to stifle Spring or hold back the harvest. As Isaiah said, the crocus will suddenly spring out of the icey mud, the desert will blossom, sorrow and sighing will flee away and everlasting joy shall be upon our heads. The Promise of Advent is on his way, and nothing in earth or hell will be able to stop his coming. The light shines in the world’s darkness, and all the world’s darkness cannot overcome it (John 1:5).