Summary: The weaker defeats the stronger. The pure in heart defeats the corrupt. These popular stories all share this theme. Yet,they also suggest that "we can do it alone." "We don’t need anybody else." The story of our faith is very, very different fro
Loving, Wonderful, Holy God,
In your Son was life, and His life was the light for all people. May His light be our light. This Christmas, may we rediscover anew the light of your Son, by these words and our meditations. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
I want to talk about Christmas. But before I get there, I want to talk about Bilbo and Frodo Baggins who are Hobbits in Tolkein’s great trilogy Lord of the Rings. I want to talk about Harry Potter, the young boy who breaks away from his oppressive situation and rediscovers the truth of who he is. I want to talk about the movie Jaws, where Richard Dreyfus, playing an oceanographer, duels a mammoth Great White Shark.
These three movies all tell the same story. The weaker defeats the stronger. The pure in heart overwhelms the wicked and evil. The underdog defeats the bully. Goodness triumphs (in the last five minutes) over evil.
Frodo Baggins must destroy the evil ring which, on the wrong hand, will reign destruction and death upon middle earth. He is a humble hobbit and must sneak across dangerous lands with legions of goblins, wraiths, and orcs hot on the trail.
Harry Potter - and I don’t want to go into the whole wizard versus Christian controversy - is a story where an innocent boy, orphaned, raised by his mean-spirited unloving aunt and uncle, discovered that he is a special child, endowed with special powers. Even so, a more powerful enemy wishes to destroy him. He is left to his wits and resources to defeat a more powerful foe.
And then the movie Jaws. The 1970’s version of Melville’s Moby Dick. Evil incarnate in the form of a hungry shark. The shark feeds on sunbathing, beach combing tourists, threatening the very fabric of our civilization. Enter Richard Dreyfus, earnest, naïve. With a little luck and a handy oxygen tank, he blows the great white one into fish bait.
These stories are good stories. These stories all sound like moral, good versus evil type of stories. The message is that if we keep the faith, be strong, persevere, we shall overcome evil. We can do it. We can do it alone.
These are the stories that saturate our culture, our common life together. These stories even sound a little bit like Christian stories. But the story of Christmas, the story of Christ, is different in one, very important way, from all these other stories.
Jesus Christ was born so that you did not need to go it alone. Jesus Christ was born so that the world could see, touch, feel, hear, and fully know that Emmanuel, God is with us. We do not need to go it alone.
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not overcome it. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
In him was life, and that life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not overcome it.”
“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward all….”
“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”
The world was not alone. You are not alone. You do not have to be strong enough. You do not have to be wise enough. You do not need to figure it all out. Lord knows, our lives can get pretty rough. The great white shark hunting you down might be your drug problem, your bad relationship, your bank account with never enough money. You might not be chased by Goblins and Orcs like Frodo Baggins, but you might be chased by your guilt, your regrets, your embarrassment.
It is hard to go it alone.
The shepherds were not the wise men. They were not the scholars or the priests or the rich or the beautiful. They were regular folks. Working hard kinda-people. They were the first ones there. They