Christmas season - God is not distant - a conversation with a university student

Christmas season – God is not distant – a conversation with a university student

Making room to think about Christmas

It is an opportunity to make some room during this Christmas season and reflect about the meaning of Christmas. What is Christmas all about? What are you thoughts on the meaning of Christmas? What follows is a conversation I had with a student a few weeks ago.

What do you think about God and the meaning of life?

Meaning in life for that student is to improve other people’s lives, help them become better. He values honesty, being happy in life, and equality. About life after death, he thought life just ends the moment someone dies. The body is a vessel of the brain. About God, he thought that there are many different interpretations and misinterpretations. Therefore he is at the moment more of an agnostic.

Who was Jesus?

An amusing moment came when I asked him what he thinks about Jesus. How can we know what is true after 2000 years, he said. But Jesus came across to him as hot-headed, getting easily angry for small things, like talking to a fig tree and then cursing it. I laughed and agreed that this is an interesting moment in Jesus’ life. I think he was surprised that I responded in a relaxed way.

He also said that people say that Jesus was the Son of God. But this is more what people said about him and not how Jesus identified himself. It just became a good story. We shortly talked about how much and on what basis we can trust history since he loved reading it. He mentioned that historiography- the study of the writing of history and of historical texts- helps uncover historical truths. I agreed and noted that we can do the same with the Bible as a document and find out how reliable it is.

What do you think Jesus was trying to do?

He had a good insight into the question “what do you think Jesus was trying to do?” He said, “people were focused too much on rules. Jesus helped them understand the spirit behind these rules.” I told him that some of his thoughts show that he has more knowledge about the Bible than many students I talk to. I became curious about his background. He said that his father is a full-time Christian minister, someone that teaches the Bible weekly in a church.

The last question in the questionnaire was this, “if it were possible, would you want to know God in a personal way? Why?” He said, “I think God’s attention will go more to other people, maybe other people need him more than me.” I asked him to explain more about this. What he said shows his understanding of who God is and how God relates to human beings. He said clear and short, “I don’t think I am worthy enough or miserable enough to have God’s attention.”

God is love!

God is love! Anyone who struggles with this phrase may have a picture of God in his mind as distant, cold, and impersonal. Not the God Jesus came to reveal. Luke reminds us what Jesus said about God, that God is loving and reaching out to lost people. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

During this Christmas season make some room in your life to think about God. Christmas means that God became a man in the person of Jesus. Jesus came to reveal the love of God. Here you can read more about the God Jesus came to present. Leave your thoughts, I will try to reply within a week.

 

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