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Force and Faith: Yippee! Childlike Hope this Christmas Season

Force and Faith: Yippee! Childlike Hope this Christmas Season

Force and Faith Sabers SquareIt’s almost here! That great morning that many kids look forward to – Christmas morning! That wonderful day that is so full of possibilities and expectations. Wish lists were distributed to relatives, and expectations were set high. For many of us who will stop by the venerable Coffee With Kenobi, there was the expectation of a new Star Wars ship or action figure under the tree. Many of us are finding that even now, as we have put a few years behind us, that we still hold on to that giddy expectation.

Sometimes, life has beaten us down, or left a few stripes on our backs. Our expectations have gone unfulfilled. But we know that we are struggling because the ideal of how the world should work is still beckoning in the back of our minds.Young Anakin Let’s take a look back at a very young Anakin. There is one moment of dialogue that bothered me, until I had children of my own. While in the junk shop, Watto tells Anakin that he can head home after cleaning a few more things. He lets out an unrestrained “yippee!” For some time, this seemed forced to me. Then, one day my little guy let out a squeal like this, and I saw that it was the pure joy coming from the deepest part of the soul. A young child, full of possibility, potential and expectations. He had gazed up at the night sky and thought about the multitude of planets and the explorers who traveled between them. Even while a slave, there was hope in this little boy. There can be hope for us, as well, even in the darkest of circumstances.

(c) Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved. Used with permission.It is the same hope that makes our legs feel like jelly as we bound down the steps on Christmas morning. Will our dreams be answered? Did my wife finally buy me the large Millennium Falcon to hang in the rectory office? We have to hope – it is the nature of human beings, and something that sets us apart from the animals. And hope needs to be redefined. Anakin’s daughter is a good example of the sort of hope that I am speaking about. Aboard the Tantive IV, she is on a mission for the Rebel Alliance. Danger surrounds her, yet she continues on because she so utterly believes in the Rebellion. Sometime later, while observing the battle of Yavin from the command ship, there is a small amount of fear in her eyes, but hope that the good and the light will prevail. And this hope is not like a penny thrown into a well or feathers thrown to the wind. This is a hope she firmly believes will be fulfilled. Doubtless. If she but goes through the effort of coordinating the attack on the evil Death Star, she knows that her side will triumph. This is different from a wish upon a star. No, Leia’s hope is something deeper, fuller and eternal. It is a hope that will be fulfilled, guaranteed.

As 2014 tumbles into winter, the nights are long and the temperature can be brutal. (Just bear with me, you blessed ones who live in the South and California). I am at my desk looking out at my dead garden patch, frozen brook and leafless trees. The sky is gray, and will be until Easter. That’s the way it is in Upstate New York. But I have hope that things will change. In fact, today is the second shortest day of the year. Not the shortest! That has already passed. From now on, the days get longer. What a joy! In a few days, Christmas day will be celebrated. I have hoped for this day for a long time. In my faith tradition, we fast from all meat, dairy and wine for 40 days before this holiday. It makes the expectation so much sweeter, as well as the feast to follow! The hope for Christmas day is that much stronger in me because of the effort.

It is a hope that something new is going to happen. In the Christian faith, something new happens on Christmas day. God becomes man. All of history is now changed because of this event. Even the numbers of the years depend on this little child’s birth. As we hear in O Little Town of Bethlehem, “The hopes and fears of all [those who came before Jesus] are met in thee tonight.”

Yoda ChristmasTo illustrate my point, let me end with the hope we have for December 18th, 2015. There is a feeling of expectation in the air. What will it be like? How awesome will it be? Will Luke still be my favorite character? The hope of the movies arrival is guaranteed – even if we do not know exactly how it will be fulfilled. The day will come. That night we will line up and breathe in the splendor of the galaxy far, far away. In the meantime, we dream and we hope. We are looking for the coming of something that changes our world for the better. And we expect that hope to be fulfilled.

 

Please leave comments on this and all my posts – I really look forward to it.  You can find me on Twitter at @adelphotheos and email at jamesw@CoffeeWithKenobi.com, occasionally at TheForceandFaith.blogspot.com as long as I am not listening to the latest edition of the Coffee With Kenobi podcast!

This is the podcast you are looking for.

 

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9 Comments

  1. Jason Mills
    December 23, 2014 at 11:18 Reply

    Well said sir! Even in the darkest of moments there is still hope! And Christmas, if not anything else, is a reminder of that hope 🙂

    Merry Christmas and God bless!

  2. Melinda
    December 23, 2014 at 19:56 Reply

    Once a Luke fan — always a Luke fan. 😀

    1. Melinda
      December 23, 2014 at 19:57 Reply

      I will be back. 🙂 I had to leave this comment before I scoot out the door. I couldn’t resist. 😉

      Merry Christmas! Happy 2015! 🙂

  3. Melinda
    December 24, 2014 at 08:38 Reply

    Was? Was? I say, “Is!!!”

    I am referring, of course, to your musing of Christmases past when we Star Wars fans hoped to find a “Star Wars ship or action figure under the tree.” 😉 Does that wish ever fade? I don’t think so! 😉

    James, you wrote an excellent post here. 🙂 What do YOU think about expectations? Detrimental to one’s well being? Do they run side by side with hope? If you’d like to know my answers to those two questions, I say “yes” to the former, “no” to the latter. Expectations are a part of life, and I am not necessarily advocating one’s life should be devoid of them. However, when “expectations” enter into the mix, most folks — young and old — fall into a deep pit when those expectations are not met, realized. They (may) get so disappointed, so upset that they don’t realize, appreciate what is right before them. That is a shame.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have been guilty of having high expectations at various points in my life, and when those expectations were not met, I was terribly disappointed. Which, of course, caused me not to appreciate what was right there in front of me. As I’ve gotten older, I have learned (I hope! 😉 ) to temper my expectations, to understand that the way I want *whatever* to happen is not necessarily the same as how others see/want *whatever* to happen. It can involve expecting … hoping people will act and respond to each other in a respectful, considerate way. (Sorry if you think I’m going afield here.) It can involve wishing for … expecting … hoping for a specific gift for Christmas.

    I will never forget my 16th Christmas (that would be when I was 15, of course 😉 ). Although I was not yet old enough to have a part-time job, I did receive a weekly allowance. Babysitting supplemented my allowance, but babysitting opportunities were few and far between. Most of what meager funds I had (and I mean MOST!) went toward paying my bus fare to and from school each day. For four years (leading up to this particular holiday season), I asked for a pair of hockey skates for Christmas. It was the ONLY thing I wanted. For three years, my Christmas wish went unanswered — well, at least to my way of thinking. (No, it seems, IS an answer. 😉 ) I was (and am!) a devoted Chicago Blackhawk fan, loved hockey, and even joined the first girls’ ice hockey team in Chicago (back in the 1970s). I had a pair of figure skates, yes, but such skates are NOT very conducive to hockey skating. Besides, I think denying me the hockey skates was my mother’s (in particular) way of trying to make a girl out of me. lol (I was such a tomboy!)

    Unbeknownst to my parents, this was going to be the LAST year I asked for hockey skates. I would be 16 come summer, and I was going to get a job right away. If my parents or Santa wouldn’t respond to my ONE plea, I would take matters into my own hands.

    more…

  4. Melinda
    December 24, 2014 at 09:04 Reply

    (continued…)

    I came downstairs that Christmas morning — hoping against hope that I’d find a box under the tree that could contain the ONE surprise for which I hoped. It was my dad’s job to pass out gifts, and as he delivered each package to my siblings, mom and me, it became clearer and clearer to me that, once again, I would not find a pair of ice hockey skates under our Christmas tree. I hoped the look on my face did not reveal my keen disappointment. At least I was old enough to realize that whatever my parents bestowed upon me would be thoughtful. In the back of my mind, however, was the nagging, “Do they actually LISTEN to me?”

    As was customary in our household, my mom would instruct each of my siblings and me to hold off opening one particular gift until the very end. This Christmas was no different. She asked me to save a small package (about the size in which one would place a bracelet) — wrapped in colorful paper and ribbon — until the end. I, of course, complied. We opened our surprises, one by one, and when it finally was my turn to unwrap my last gift — all eyes upon me — I took the small box in hand, and began removing the ribbon and paper. I attempted to have a big smile on my face so as not to disappoint my mom and dad … all along knowing that my heart had sunk a while ago. The paper gone, I lifted the lid of the box, and what did I find? Not what I was EXPECTING! That was for sure! For what was in that jewelry-sized box but a picture cut out of a magazine depicting A PAIR OF HOCKEY SKATES!!! My jaw must of dropped. I remember my eyes tearing up. I was surprised beyond belief!!!

    When I looked up at my parents, hopefully with as much gratitude in my teary eyes as I felt, I offered my heartfelt thank yous, and admitted that I didn’t think I would find my heart’s desire in that little box. “We thought it best that we have you pick them out so you get what you want in the correct size,” my mom offered as explanation. When I mentioned this was to be the last Christmas I asked for hockey skates, she added, “We had a feeling it might be.” Maybe it was their way of doing something for me … that all too soon I’d be able to do for myself?

    I didn’t exactly squeal “Yippee!” like Anakin did when he was released from the toil and drudgery at Watto’s, but my heart certainly felt that way that long ago Christmas. To this day, I feel my heart swell and a warm feeling spread through me when I recall that moment in time when an expectation — yes, an expectation — was NOT met. 🙂

    more…

    1. Melinda
      December 24, 2014 at 09:20 Reply

      I have to scoot off again! It is Christmas Eve, and there’s still so much to do! 😉

      I will be back. In case it isn’t until AFTER Christmas, please let me say —

      I enjoyed your blog immensely, James. 😀

      And a very merry Christmas to you and your family!!! 😀

  5. James Worthington
    December 24, 2014 at 13:34 Reply

    Thank you all for commenting. I’ll respond personally in a day or two. I have to get to church as well. Merry Christmas to all! Find the joy!

  6. Melinda
    December 24, 2014 at 18:59 Reply

    I have a few minutes … so I’m back. 😉

    Rereading your blog, James, to refresh my memory, I found myself wondering why you considered Leia to be so sure that her friends would be able to destroy the Death Star. “If she but goes through the effort of coordinating the attack on the evil Death Star, she knows that her side will triumph…It is a hope that will be fulfilled, guaranteed.” Interesting take on the sequence of scenes/events. As the Rebel flying force is decimated, and the Death Star comes within range of annihilating Yavin IV, I never once felt that Leia — let alone Luke — felt the victory was a foregone conclusion. There was no Jedi Master coordinating everything, and to be quite frank, the Force was on Darth Vader’s side … an experienced pilot, a crack shot, maybe more machine than man but most assuredly still very strong in the Force. The odds were with the Empire, with Darth Vader … until, that is, the farm boy-turned-Rebel pilot decided to trust in the Force, and listen to his mentor speaking from beyond.

    I ask you: what military commander goes into a battle KNOWING s/he will win? Weigh the pros and cons, decide if the outcome is worth the price you KNOW your fighting force will make, plot your strategy, and there’s a good chance you can win. But even the best strategist can see his/her plan fall apart. There are too many variables that can come into play.

    There are no guarantees in war. Except some, many even, will lose their lives.

    more…

  7. Melinda
    December 24, 2014 at 19:17 Reply

    continued…

    James, I hope you have/had a memorable, merry Christmas. 🙂 Have a wonderful new year — I hope it will be filled with all kinds of wonderment! 🙂 You’re absolutely right — the end of 2015 holds a special event in store for all of us who are Star Wars fans! 😀 I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — the only expectation I have is to be carried away to that very special galaxy far, far away. 🙂 It will be fun to see where this new group of storytellers takes us. 🙂

    … So, the sky up your way will clear up by Easter, eh? You’re pretty lucky. We can’t count on that happening with any regularity until Memorial Day. If we’re lucky. 😉 That’s southeastern Wisconsin for you! 😉

    I look forward to your next post!

    MTFBWY 🙂

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