The second Hunger Games movie, "Catching Fire", just came out and broke records for movies released in November. The movies are based on a book series by Suzanne Collins. They are set in the future where society is divided into 12 subordinate districts ruled by the Capital, a wealthy ruling class. As punishment for rebellion 75 years ago, each district must offer up 2 of its youth each year in a violent fight to the death that is broadcast for all to watch. In this midst of this, a heroine named Katniss offers herself to go into the games when her younger sister's name is chosen. Katniss makes it through the games while striving to make moral choices in an immoral world. As she strives to be herself, to be moral and to rebel against the injustices of her world, Katniss inspires others to fight against injustice too.
We are all hungering, aren't we? Hungering for a better world, for peace and joy and equality to finally come once and for all. We hunger for more than the usual "games", distractions that keep us from working on the real problems around us. Like Katniss, we struggle to know how to make moral choices in an immoral world. Like Katniss, we are not alone in wanting a just and fair world.
Its ironic that this movie came out when it did. Just in time for our yearly struggle between Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Just in time for stores and commercials to convince us that Christmas is about spending money, buying gifts and being gluttonous. Just in time for Advent.
Advent means "the coming". It is the month before Christmas when Christians wait for God's coming in Jesus. The prophets predicted the time when God would restore the earth and humanity to perfect peace and justice. "And a little child will lead them" that child being Jesus, born in a stable to poor parents who were hungry and cold. Jesus came and lived to show us that we are all a part of God's plan to make the world "on earth as it is in heaven". Jesus changed the world with his death and resurrection, by changing our hearts and teaching us to love God and people rather than things. Jesus would have been born in District 12 among the poor and hungry, and would have called the people to change society.
Lets "catch the fire" this Advent and reject the immorality of a Holy-day season focused on stuff. Lets honor the baby born in a barn by honoring His values - giving, sharing, justice, peace, joy. Rather than buying another sweater or trinket for family & friends who don't need a thing - give something homemade, or give to a charity, or give a gift certificate for a local service. Forget about buying up all those lights and decorations (you probably already have enough) and focus on how you can make the world a better place. Hunger not for another cookie, but for the world God wants - a just world where no one is hungry at all.