It’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. 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.
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.”
To 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!
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