ON WE GO! - December 19, 2018
Submitted on December 19, 2018
One of my favorite professors from my undergraduate years was Dr. Donald Keyser. He was formally trained as an Old Testament professor, but across his career taught a range of subjects in biblical studies, theology, and history of Christianity. He was a scholar, but, as he was quick to state, he was first of all a churchman. The content I learned under Dr. Keyser was substantial, but, beyond the content itself, there were certain lessons that came to reside deep within my core. One such realization concerned the meaning of Christmas.
As I recall, there was a point in one of his classes at which we were studying the birth narratives of Jesus. Various components were being presented and discussed, such as the Angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary, Joseph and Mary’s travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Jesus’ birth, the visit by the shepherds, etc. In the course of the class proceedings, there came an extended pause from Dr. Keyser. When he spoke again, his words were something like the following (in my paraphrase): “We are studying these scriptural accounts in considerable detail, as we in some sense are making the effort to reach toward God. But, I hope you will always remember that the Christmas story is a story of God reaching first toward us. It is God who takes the first step. The next step, in response, is to be ours.”
Thank you, God, for loving us enough to give your Son into the world, and may the response of our lives be in accord with your will.
May the blessings and joys of Christmas be to everyone!
On We Go!