We are just about to cross the finishing line of our 2019 school year and as the year finishes with many different nights of celebrations, concerts and presentation evenings, I would like to take the opportunity to say, “Have a blessed and thoughtful time this Christmas season as we celebrate our saviour Jesus Christ’s birth.”
Within the lead-up to Christmas there is an abundance of advertising tempting children, teens and adults to buy the latest gadgets, watch the newest releases, book your holiday destinations, eat and be merry, gifts galore abound the imagination.
Our imagination is a gift from God. We were created to imagine. God has given us the capacity to visualise things that aren’t present. We are created to imagine possibilities, opportunities, to pursue knowledge, collect information and as twentieth-century novelist, Christian apologist C.S. Lewis stated, “Reason is the natural organ of truth, imagination is the organ of meaning.” Imagination is capable of understanding and embodying truth, it informs reason and in turn is informed by reason.
We use our imagination all the time, whether we’re teachers, chefs, artists, or mathematicians, imagination is how we see, hear, taste, and smell things that make up our concrete reality, even when those things are nowhere near us.
As parents and educators we want to encourage our kids to imagine and be creative, but we also want them to be grounded in the truth? We want them to know the difference between creativity and lying? Imagination, like any other gift, has the potential for good or for ill. We want our kids to have a healthy imagination but we also have a responsibility to teach them to always speak the truth.
Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias says “Imagination is the organ for meaning, the faculty that gives form to thought, influencing meaning and purpose in life.” Ravi believes that our imagination is under attack in today’s society and that our young people are the most vulnerable. This is because of the amount of picture capacity that we are viewing through social media, which can inform, bombard, tantalises and desensitise our sense of reality. Today's young people are the most exposed due to how much time they spend in front of screens with pictorial information besieging their senses. God created us to see through the eye using our conscience, where modern society is inviting us to see with the eye devoid of a conscience.
We have a duty to our children and young people to develop their imagination, to be curious and creative but to ground them in truth. Children have wonderful imaginations, and make-believe heroes and their opponents on television or in books are now much more realistic in 3D games and in movies and our discussions with them about what they see, think and feel are important. Popular Disney movies have aspects that are truthful, while others are fantasy. Talk about the things that were truthful, and the things that could only be fantasy. Teach them the difference between telling a story and telling a lie. Examine the motivation behind the imagination.
When we read books and especially when we read from the Bible, we should bring a lively imagination to our reading of God’s word. Jesus told stories to his disciples so that he could teach the truth. God’s word from Genesis to Revelation appeals to our mind’s eye and is inviting us to paint pictures, draw parallels, make analogies as it engages us on the imaginative level. As Christians, we need a vivid imagination , for no matter what our age or how much we know, or have experienced, we worship the true, living, ever present and glorious God, who “lives in light so bright that men cannot go near it. No one has ever seen God, or can see him.”(1 Timothy 6:16 ICB).
So as we enter the Christmas season, I’d like to finish this article with some words from well known Christian author and Pastor Max Lucado,“In the mystery of Christmas, we find its majesty. The mystery of how God became flesh, why he chose to come, and how much he must love his people. Such mystery can never be solved, just as love can never be diagrammed. Christmas is best pondered, not with logic, but imagination.”