Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Devotion 12.16.15

I was 17 years old in 1977 when a movie came out that I heard about via word of mouth.  "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" had come out, and a friend of mine and I were at a high school event when he said, "There is the space movie coming out that is supposed to be like 'Close Encounters,' but it's supposed to be better."  Then we all became aware of "Star Wars" in 1977 because of the score, the opening music especially, which became a pop hit instantly.  John Williams wrote the score to the movie (Google that name and just stand in awe of the movie scores he has written) which did as much in that era to sell the movie as anything else including "Close Encounters".

So, here we are in 2015, almost 40 years later.  I'm 56 years old and watching the news this morning, and the big news is "Star Wars."  George Lucas, the man responsible for the vision and work that became the story and franchise known as "Star Wars" sold his baby to Disney for $4 billion.  Disney made a wise investment.  Google Star Wars Statistics and look at the wealth of the total revenue generated by Star Wars (spoiler alert - $28 billion dollars from movies, toys, music, books.... you get the idea).  Ever the proud dad, Lucas is still part of the story, but he's no longer responsible for stories, decisions, development, promotion and other things that go with the movie. 

Despite the success of the Star Wars series, many observers say it is the simplicity of the story that has given it the staying power.  Good versus evil.  Good and evil have access to the same beliefs, but good uses it within the strong beliefs of how not to misuse those beliefs.  Evil operates at all costs.  In the end, good always seems to resonate and come out victorious.  The simplicity of the story with the fantastic special effects, which in 1977 required entire studios dedicated to sets and are now digital, have given boom to the "Star Wars" brand.  It has given 40 years of staying power to the brand.

It's no coincidence that it comes out at Christmas.  Hollywood knows when schools let out and when audiences are available for large premiers.  The holiday season is always a great time to introduce a movie you anticipate is going to have a large audience.  I believe it is coincidence that it comes out at Christmas and has a parallel theme with Christmas.  We know the simplicity of the Christmas story.  We know the beauty of the Christmas story.  Christ comes to earth in the form of a baby, powerless and helpless in our sight, while being God with the full authority and power of God.  His mission is simple, to save us and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  He is obedient to the will of the Father and uses his power and authority wisely to overcome sin and evil.  In the end (and from the beginning), God is victorious.

We know the story well.  "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And everyone went to his own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the tow of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem, the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David." (Luke 3:1 - 4)

This is the story that has truth and staying power.  Pray we focus on that at this time of year, even if we enjoy a good movie or two over the holidays.

Hope Men's Ministry

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