Last week we celebrated the beginning of the Christian calendar with the first Sunday of Advent, and the beginning of the Gregorian calendar is just around the corner. When we speak about “new” things, some people feel very anxious, while others seem to be excited by novelty for novelty’s sake. Newness is sometimes considered in very sharp contrasts of black-and-white thinking. New Year’s resolutions are particularly vulnerable to this fallacy. Sure, I’ve been going to the gym at a rate of about once per month, but once December becomes January I’ll become a veritable Hercules.
During the season of Advent, we are celebrating the newness, the good news of Christ’s coming to earth, God with us—Immanuel. But that newness was not out of the blue. Throughout Advent Christians look to the promises of the prophets that Salvation (which is what the name ‘Jesus’ means) from God would come to God’s people out of exile and imperial domination. Newness is not the arrival of something unheard of but the emergence of what has been present all along, like long-dormant seeds in the earth breaking forth after a dark and cold winter.
In thinking about newness in continuity with what has come before, I am looking forward to the future of Central Christian Church. Instead of New Year’s resolutions and all the baggage that surrounds them, I want to invite you, the membership of Central Christian Church, to dream about what God might have in store for us. What seeds lie hidden in the soil, waiting for sun and rain to beckon them into life? What brambles and stones need to be cleared away to best allow the new green to flourish? Starting this Sunday, there will be “dream cards” available in the fellowship hall for you to contemplate these questions. If you prefer, you can also answer them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Consider prayerfully and send in your responses by Christmas Day, and we will imagine together what God has in store for us in 2023 and beyond.
In the hope, peace, joy, and love of Advent and the dream of what is new,