So what is Harry Potter doing when he's not Harry Potter? Evidently he's hanging out in an Australian cove chasing Teresa Palmer and dreams of being a part of a "real" family through adoption.
That's right, he's still an orphan, and his compatriots at Hogwarts have been replaced by three younger school mates from an educational institution that's about as far from Hogwarts as one can get ... a Catholic school.
The movie is called December Boys, and although it's not going to have the box office firepower of Harry Potter or other movies about Spidermen and Pirates, this film investigates and develops themes that run deeper in the human heart than any ka-jillion dollar special effects flick could ever touch.
What themes? Well first off, the theme of family. In December Boys, we find Daniel Radcliffe and his pals on a summer reprieve from the nuns and the structure of the Catholic school. What you would think to be a normal-run-of-the-mill beach bum vacation takes a sharp turn when a childless couple shows up at the resort, and the December boys (all born in December ... hence the title) find themselves under the "potential adoption" microscope.
What then unfolds is a fairly predictable-yet surprisingly agreeable-storyline where life lessons are learned, camaraderie is solidified, and cart wheeling nuns make their theatrical debut (as far as I know anyway).
In a nutshell, December Boys portrays the deep seated need in everyone to belong. All of us come preloaded with a "Family 1.0" program that seems to always run in the background on the screen of our lives. The thirst to love and the hunger to be loved is not just a good plot line for a movie, it's the storyline of our lives.
So where does it come from? Who loaded the software? Well in my view, if something is designed into our lives, it must have come from the Designer. See if you agree –
God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Notice that the writer of this verse points out a fascinating fact – which is this: God "planted eternity in the human heart." This is the preloaded software I was talking about. Our lives, our time, and our world is physical and temporary, but in the heart of our spiritual soul is a need to connect with Someone eternal. That's why no amount of friends and family or activities and achievements can ever fill the "God shaped" void that exists in the center of our being.
Why did God create us this way? Because He created us like Him! Genesis 1:26 tells us this:
Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us."
This short little verse is packed with two critical "life lessons." First, it tells us that God made us "in His image." Since God is eternal, we have an eternal element as part of our make up as well. Second, it tells us that He created us to be "like Him." Since God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit existing as a perfect "family," we have a need to be in a family as well.
Fortunately, God provided a way to fill the void. Here's what Jesus joyfully proclaimed to the crowds of His day and to all people everywhere:
Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35)
Remember the hunger and thirst we talked about earlier? Here are your menu options: Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus. And to drink? No, not Starbucks; again, Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus. Any other man-made additions are under the category of sea water. It may temporarily make you feel like your thirst is quenched, but in reality it only deepens your need further.
If you're feeling a bit like a spiritual orphan with an aching appetite to belong, the great news is that you don't have to try to impress anyone to be adopted into a family. Jesus offers it freely to anyone and everyone. He puts it out in plain terms:
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life" (John 3:36)
Nothing fancy here. No papers to fill out and no waiting periods. Put your trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and invite Him to be the spiritual food and drink that will fill the eternal void in your soul and quench your need to love and be loved.
There was another Person who could be called a December boy, and He's not looking to be adopted. In fact, He's looking to adopt you.
Care to respond?
Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.