December Photo Project Day #14
|Columbus Ave Tree Stand|
I've been taking a class this month at an Orthodox Jewish study center in my neighborhood. I was the only Christian, and the youngest student by a decade or two, but that's ok: sometimes I like to be different.
The course covered topics like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the codification of the Mishnah, 1st century Jewish sects, John the Baptist's relationship with the Essenes, later rabbinic references to Jesus, etc. etc. etc. It was a LOT to cover in only a few weeks. My head is spinning. But my motor is running - I love this stuff with a capital L-O-V-E.
One of my main take-aways from the class, though, is how little I really know about this period of history. I went in expecting some answers - I came away with a long list of questions. The more you learn, the less you know, I guess. And that's ok, too. Sometimes having the right questions is more important than having the right answers. (Maybe, yes?)
The class coincided - coincidentally - with Advent. It was kind of neat to spend this season studying the historical context into which Jesus was born. And it was always interesting to hear what others had to say about Jesus - their impressions of him, who they thought he was.
It challenged me (in a good way) to consider my own impressions of Jesus. Every night after class I wanted to run home - through the dark and cold of December - and read the Christmas story. Again. What does it say? What is the significance? Who did the shepherds think Jesus was? And the Magi? Who do I think Jesus was? And is?
All good questions.