Instead of the usual image of the Christ child or Light, I decided to do something slightly different. For the non-Whovians out there, this is a collage of photos that pay homage to today’s airing of the traditional Doctor Who Christmas Special: The Time of the Doctor and actor Matt Smith’s final story as the bow-tie wearing “mad man with a box”
A staple of the show’s 50-year run is the Time Lord adventuer’s ability to “regenerate,” a plot device created decades ago when it was necessary for another actor to play the title role. At the end of today’s Christmas Special: The Time of the Doctor, Smith’s 11th will regenerate into the 12th doc to be played by Peter Capaldi (the image in the collage of the man with the eyes, from the recent DW 50th Anniversary Special in which viewers got a brief glimpse of the doctor to be).
Regeneration occurs when the Doctor is mortally wounded from committing a great act of self sacrifice to save the world. During regeneration, a great magnitude of rays burst from the Doctor as he takes on a new physical form and personality traits while still maintaining his memory and essence.
It is no secret that the most popular sci-fi show in history contains numerous spiritual themes (good v. evil; redemption; justice; mercy; love; hope; identity; tolerance; compassion; sacrifice), probably more so since it’s re-launching in 2005. For me and other Christian-Whovians, the Doctor (like other fictional heroes, Frodo Baggins, Aslan, Harry Potter, etc.) is a Christ figure. The Doctor, through his characteristics and actions—particularly the whole regeneration bit—points us toward Emmanuel whose birth, life, death and resurrection transforms the world and people’s lives with love.
The regeneration of the Doctor on the day in which we once again celebrate the Light shining in the darkness is quite fitting. In the midst of a broken and suffering world (or even universe) and despite the changes that occur in our lives (the good, the bad and the bittersweet) the story of God-with-us continues on.
We will be transformed regardless of the way in which the Light of the Lord–who exists throughout all of history and time–enters our lives. And we will be beckoned to be part of a great adventure that is much bigger and much more challenging, mysterious and fantastic than we could ever imagine!
(*For all you non-Whovians out there, “Geronimo” is the catch-phrase the 11th Doctor utters gleefully in the thrill of a moment like when his ship the TARDIS is crashing or he is escaping from menacing Dyleks, Cyber-men and the like or jumping into another mysterious adventure)