‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’, says the blurb. Well, Star Wars is great but it draws on a different story.
George Lucas throws more spiritual things into his Star Wars films than maybe many people realise. He falls short of actually sipping energy from the Holy Grail as a sort of ‘Lucas aid’ but he does utilise many religious things. Like Obi Wan Ben Kenobi’s resurrection, that makes him more powerful than when alive; the Dark Side and its occult practices; the Light Sabre which overcomes darkness; and of course, The Force, a universal power akin to the Holy Spirit, if you like.
But instead of the Jedi, we remember the Magi at Christmas and their visit to the Bethlehem village, where Jesus was born to defeat the ‘Dark Side’. There was a battle between good and evil then and it continues today. Many will probably scoff at the suggestion of an evil force. Isaac Newton would not agree with you. His third law of motion states that to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and taking this literally, if there is a force for good there must also be a force for evil. That may not be a popular opinion today but there are enough things happening in the world to suggest that it is true.
In the book of Revelation chapter 12, John tells us that a woman was due to give birth and that the Dragon, ‘that ancient snake called the devil, or Satan’ was going to catch the child. However, the child escapes to Heaven whereupon war breaks out between the Archangel Michael and the devil and his angels, who are eventually beaten and cast out to roam the Earth. As Ben Jeapes comments in his excellent article The Other Side Of Advent ‘The phrase that ancient snake suggests this is the snake from the Garden of Eden’. the age old adversary of mankind.
This compares to the birth of Jesus who had to escape Bethlehem. The visit of the Magi was a force that awoke such a rage in King Herod that it resulted in him ordering children to be killed. History reveals that Herod the Great was at that time riddled with disease and completely paranoid about someone usurping his throne. He had already executed a wife and two sons and therefore ordering the death of innocents at Bethlehem would be entirely in keeping with his character, having been advised by the Magi that a king had been born there. He would have viewed that as a threat, especially when the Magi mentioned they were looking for the true King of the Jews. The first century historian, Flavius Josephus, records that Herod was deluded, violent and vicious.So, we can understand that he might well act in an extreme manner to squash any potential rival to his throne.
Being warned in a dream of this threat from Herod, Mary and Joseph escape to Egypt and I think that somehow this is the key to what happened at Bethlehem. If there had been no danger, Mary and Joseph would probably not have had to go to Egypt. and the quotation from the prophet Hosea several hundred years earlier which states “Out of Egypt I have called my son” would not have been fulfilled.
Of course, this prophecy can refer to the people of Israel making the exodus from slavery under the Egyptians. Also, there are echoes of the story of Moses being found in bulrushes to escape being killed by Pharaoh’s soldiers. Nevertheless, it can also apply to Jesus. It is a different type of exodus but one more significant, with a new and superior Moses, and who applies to everybody and not just Israel.The battle between light and dark is clear and is still very prevalent today in not always obvious but more subtle ways. (People trying to rename Christmas, ‘The Holidays’, ‘Chrimbo’ or Xmas or anything that removes Christ’s name from the service of Christ’s Mass.)
Without the influence of the Magi Herod would not have killed the children, Joseph and Mary would not have gone to Egypt and fulfilled the ancient prophecy ‘Out of Egypt have I called my Son’. Why did that prophecy have to be fulfilled? Well, I don’t really know. Did it need to link the connection with Moses escaping the cull of Pharaoh? It does show the consistency of God’s plan to save us as a race from the evil within or around us though. Or was it that those events were going to happen according to the will of people and the prophecy was a reminder that all things work for God’s eventual plan even if some of it mystifies us mortals?
As I mentioned earlier, the Force in Lucas’ films is a very spiritual thing something akin to the Holy Spirit but not the same as Him. Luke is urged to ‘Use the Force’ but I’m pretty certain that particular instruction doesn’t appear in Luke’s Gospel. Which, in case you hadn’t noticed, is how you try to elegantly tie up disparate threads in a meandering article which anyway may have been destined to be low on the scale of appreciation.
And so the Nativity tale will still be shown in schools around the world despite attempts by the ‘Dark Side’ to stop it. The children may not always act according to plan in their plays but that sometimes brings more joy than what was meant to happen and makes us laugh. May the farce be with you!
P.S. As a Christmas bonus, my novel An Element Of Time has been reduced on Amazon Kindle to only 99p for a limited period. So, grab it while you can. It’s part of my Gold Of The Magi trilogy.
No Kindle? No worries. Just download the Kindle App for your tablet, phone or computer and you can then read the books just as easily.