It might not be politically correct to say, but who cares! Merry Christmas dear reader. Merry Christmas to all.
What is Christmas? Why does it matter?
Christmas is a Christian holiday (even for the ones who want to forget that…). It is also a day with significant meaning. It’s a day meant to celebrate the search for peace and love. It is a day to celebrate the possibility of people coming together, being good to each other, and living in peace (it’s possible if we really work at it!). It is a day to celebrate the birth of one Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Who is this Christ we speak of?
Well, there are many people who wonder about that. People debate and even argue whether Jesus was God, a literal son of God, or just a man.
In my understanding, none of us is “just” anything. We’re far more complicated than one aspect or idea. And that applies to the man named Jesus too.
Our understanding is part of the problem. For Jesus to be what I understand him to be, his existence is partially outside of our current understanding. This sometimes leads to people making assumptions. It leads to serious mistakes, including writing off Jesus Christ as impossible, or (equally bad) assuming our Savior’s life and existence will always be outside of our understanding.
Some will even say that Jesus never existed, that he was just a story. Well, if he was just a story, that was a great story. Look at how the story of Jesus has shaped our world. Maybe this is something we should look into a bit more.
A few things I find in the story are that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, both man and god combined. He came to this world. He taught. And he left a lasting mark on our world, and on our individual lives if we’ll let him.
People will argue and dispute the logistics of how he could be man and god at the same time. Others will argue there’s no archeological proof he existed. But those questions aren’t really the best place to start.
If you’re teaching physics, it’s a lot easier to start with Newtonian models than string theory. If you’re teaching psychology, behavior is a lot easier to observe than neurochemistry. Maybe we should focus on who Christ was and what he taught and stood for before we go mucking about with the metaphysics of dual man/god existence.
As for archeological evidence of Christ; that was two thousand years ago. It can be a struggle to find evidence of individual people living much more recently. Finding evidence of a specific homeless person living on skid row right now could be a bit of a challenge. More important questions include what does Jesus (real or fictional) represent and can we come to know him.
My God is a god of agency…
One of the most important things God has placed in our world, and one of the most significant things his son showed us, is the principle of agency. We as people are allowed, even expected, to make choices; to act for ourselves and learn from the results of our actions. A key implication of this principle is that we won’t really learn about God and our Savior without making a genuine decision to learn and then acting on that decision.
We are given rules and guidelines about what we should do. But neither God nor God’s Son force us to follow them. We are free to choose our actions, and then benefit or suffer from the results.
Understanding this principle of agency and that we must genuinely choose to search and learn for ourselves is the first step to coming to know the truth about God and Jesus.
With an emphatic yes, we can come to know God and our savior. It just takes effort on our parts.
God is both knowing and knowable.
God knows us. His son Jesus knows us too. And we can know them.
I love it when people ask me if I’ve ever seen God. The answer is no, I haven’t. I haven’t seen the wind or the interaction of ions in a human nerve cell either, but I can observe their effects.
Coming to know God and our savior is a process or seeking, experimentation, and observation. Sometimes we study the testimony of others (like what we read in the bible and other sources). Sometimes we appeal to God directly (as in praying). Sometimes we examine the results and draw conclusions.
It really helps to listen to the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost, but even when we can’t hear them, we can observe things in the world.
Do people who love and care for their families seem happier? And we’re not just talking Christian families here. Check a few Jews, Muslims, Hindus and atheists while you’re at it. The principal functions on its own, no matter what title we may put on our faith or behavior. If the results fit the principle, then the results support the principle. God teaches us to love and value our families, and I’ve seen the principle work with Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and atheists. If you follow the principle, you get the result.
Right now, dear reader, I’m telling you I believe in God and our Savior Jesus Christ. I know they are here for us and Christmas is a holiday to celebrate that. So, Merry Christmas dear reader. And, I’ll see you next post.