As we celebrate Advent and look forward to Christmas, we are reminded in Philippians 2 that Jesus, as the eternal Word, forever dwelling in felicity and eternal self-satisfaction in the mystery of the Trinity, . . . this Jesus humbled Himself, indeed emptied Himself (what a mystery that kenosis!); He left behind (again in some profoundly mysterious sense) His omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, and so much more. He took on flesh, and came not as a warrior, conquering king, but as a fragile and vulnerable baby in Bethlehem.
It’s Christmas vacation! And I begin to have some quiet moments now that grading is done for my squad of 80-something students. I realize now that there is a profound difference between life as a full-time administrator/part-time teacher, and a full-time teacher. Administrative life takes a rather large emotional/stress drain as one deals with various and sundry crises day-in-day-out. But that role also provided some significant (though perhaps not adequate “think-time”) to write. The full-time teacher, on the other hand, has less significant think-time due to teaching and grading for 87 students, but also near zero stress at managing life crises of families that manifest as bad student behavior and conflict in our community. But . . . with a teaching break, some thoughts emerge in the quiet.
First, some thoughts on “identity.”
Who am I? Who are you? Who are we as individuals and as a people? Do we have the power to “self-identify”? Or is this a realm belonging only to the One who causes all things to exist? These thoughts come as I complete a study of John’s Gospel with a focus on Jesus’ “I am” statements. Jesus has a right to say who He is, since most fundamentally, He simply “IS” as the great “I AM.”
We do indeed have an identity — we are made (note the passive form of the verb) in the image of God — imago Dei. But we now live in a world where we are told by “the world” that people can, indeed must, choose their own identity.