glories AND wonders

Yesterday, I wrote about our need to “translate” Christmas for our students. But “translating” doesn’t simply mean taking “kid stuff” and helping your students see its continuing importance; it also means reminding students that they can’t – or shouldn’t – outgrow the wondrous story of Christmas.

In that vein, something I penned several years ago about this part of our work:

Collegians are at a hinge moment, when they really are “growing up” in a way they haven’t before. That means we have the chance to bring deeper theology to hearts that yearn for spiritual maturity, and that’s a good thing.

But sometimes in the pursuit of so-called “depth” they leave behind the infatuation and basic-ness and childlike-ness of earlier years. Sometimes we college ministers accidentally help them do that.

When students emerge from any ministry I’m a part of, I do hope they’ll be full of truth. But I want to be good at fostering within them wonder and adventure and fun and love and like, too.

So when, for example, they read the first chapters of the gospels, I do hope students see Incarnation and Emmanuel and the set-up for Propitiation – all these vital, systematic truths. But I also want them to get really excited about a baby jumping in the womb, another baby in a feedbox, a muted old man and his preggo wife, a rumpled young couple without a place (or a marriage) to have a baby, an angel’s “Shazam!” out of the black night, the lowly shepherds’ big news, mysterious visitors from Foreign Lands, an evil king, and a dream-inspired flight to Egypt. If our Lord’s advent was very clearly an advent-ure, perhaps the rest of our faith has some adventure in it, too.

Sometimes, our students lose the shock and awe of Christianity. I’m not exactly sure how to guard those things, but I can try.

Because we’re not only supposed to prove “the glories of His righteousness,” but also the “wonders of His love,” right?


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