Uniting Around a Baby: What Baby Yoda Can Teach Us about Christmas

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By Anna Daub

The Story of Baby Yoda

With the release of Disney+’s The Mandalorian, the Star Wars social media buzzed to life due to an unexpected source. At the end of the premiere of the old Western-style show about a bounty hunter, we meet “The Child,” more fondly known as “The Kid,” to the brusque, mysterious hero of the show, the Mandalorian. The internet quickly christened the mysterious asset, “Baby Yoda,” a nod to an old fan favorite, even though he cannot actually be the baby version of Yoda due to his place in the Star Wars timeline. What we know about him? He is obviously from Yoda’s species, he is at least 50 years old, he acts the age of a toddler or young child, he has an amazing nascent ability to use the force. And he’s the cutest thing to hit the internet since cats on roombas.

In a time of dissension, social media rage and ideological anger, a baby does unite us.

The Impact of Baby Yoda

The appearance of Baby Yoda on the scene did something unexpected. It united the often-divided Star Wars fandom in an unprecedented way. Articles on comics and movies include names like:

  • “How the Mandalorian is Uniting Star Wars Fans Heading into The Rise of Skywalker”
  • “Mandalorian is on a Mission to Unite the Best and Worst of Star Wars”
  • “Baby Yoda of ‘The Mandalorian’ is Here to Unite the Internet.”

Even Jimmy Kimmel got on board, tweeting, “My hope for our future is that #BabyYoda will bring us together…@TheMandalorian #DisneyPlus.”

In a Comic Watch article titled “Baby Yoda Bigger Than All of Us,” author Sarah Coury states,

These are divisive times, desperate for some aggressive agreement. By charming people across multiple backgrounds and beliefs, Baby Yoda unites us. As we watch week after week, we all have a common cause to fight for and it brings us a little closer together. Indeed, Baby Yoda is breathtakingly, cheek-squishingly small, but in reality, that little green frog eater is so much bigger than any of us.[1]

Fans who hated The Last Jedi linked cyber arms with those who thought it was the greatest movie in the franchise. People who thought there should never be a non-Harrison Ford Han Solo smiled at the same internet gif as die-hard Solo groupies. Rey-lo fans, droid fanatics and yes, even the rare Jar Jar Binks supporter oohed and ahhhed over the “Dear Baby Yoda” song. In the midst of the angst, fear, frustration and collective breath-holding as we wait for the potentially explosive end of the Skywalker saga, a baby appeared and brought unity to a shattered fandom. Even those who have never been “into Star Wars” felt the draw of the Star Wars universe because of the Baby Yoda memes and gifs plastered all over social media.

An Older Story

While this internet unity will dwindle eventually, it reminds us of some older truths. Centuries ago, a baby appeared. This baby was unlike any other the world had seen. The second person of the Trinity, God the Son, took on flesh and dwelt among men and women. He was both God and man. They called him Jesus because he would save his people from their sins.

This baby came to reconcile us to God and to each other. Since the first sin way back in the garden, each man and woman’s relationship with God was broken. No one sought after God. We were, in fact, his enemies. Our sin broke not only our vertical relationship with God, but also our horizontal relationships with other humans. Anger, pride, frustration, selfishness and hatred resulted in human fighting against human. The unity humanity so deeply desired seemed like a far-off dream.

But God, in his great love and mercy, sent this baby to earth, and with the cries of a newborn birthed by a poor, faithful follower of God, hope exploded onto the scene. This mission of reconciliation began in the middle of nowhere, but stretched to the ends of the earth. He came to unite us, first to God and then to each other. The unity that the world seeks will only be superficial tolerance without Christ. But when we are united with Christ, our love for God overflows into love for our brothers and sisters. We are now a family of God knit together by something much stronger than blood.

The church should be a place where all believers, no matter their ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status or educational level, come together to worship our Savior, Lord and King. When we quibble over tertiary matters, when we disagree on worship styles or carpet colors, favorite pastors or best sports teams, we can remember that our shared love for the Christ child unites us.

Revelation 7:9-10 (ESV) gives us a beautiful picture of this day:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’

People from all nations, all times in history, all walks of life will be united around the throne of Christ, who gave himself so that we might be reconciled.

Sarah Coury was right: we live in “divisive times, desperate for some aggressive agreement.” In a time of dissension, social media rage and ideological anger, a baby does unite us. Not a tiny, green, force-sensitive toddler in a galaxy far, far away, but a baby born in Bethlehem. We unite around the God who brings salvation to all. At Christmas, we remember that though we are different, though we are often divided, we have something deep and dear that draws us together: A baby, who is Christ, the Lord.

[1] Sarah Coury, “Baby Yoda: Bigger Than All of Us,” Comic Watch: Fandom News and Pro Reviews, 11/28/2019.

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Anna Daub

Anna is a PhD student in Applied Theology at Southeastern Seminary. She is interested in cross cultural studies, the arts and creative methods for theological education. She currently works for SEBTS' Global Theological Initiatives Department. When not studying, she loves being outside or in a coffee shop with a friend.

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