I had the privilege of preaching at a friend’s church this past Sunday. I used a movie clip as an illustration of the inherent joy of Advent. The clip was from It Could Happen To You. Nicolas Cage plays a police officer who buys a lottery ticket for his wife. After purchasing the ticket, he buys coffee at a local diner. Upon paying his bill, he realizes that he doesn’t have enough for the tip. So he tells the waitress (played by Bridget Fonda) that he will return the following day with either double the tip or half of the lottery, if he wins.
Well, you can imagine what happens that night. Yup. Four million dollars. He wrestles all night with his promise.
The clip I showed was the moment he tells the waitress the good news that she now possesses two million dollars. It’s an emotional scene and I believe it’s a living parable of Advent and New Creation.
But the one line that has been ringing in my head today comes when Fonda stops celebrating for a moment and asks, “Why are you doing this?” Cage looks at her and, almost in a whisper, says, “A promise is a promise.”
That’s Jesus! Light and hope breaking into our darkness and despair. Creation renewed. Covenant climaxed. New humanity. New identity. New life. God being most faithful when we have been most faithless.
A promise is a promise.