Notes from the Pastor – December 2021

fi·nite /ˈfīnīt/ adj. Having limits or bounds.
in- /ˈin/ pref. 1. Not; without. 2. In; into; toward; within.

Advent is upon us! Here at the beginning of the Christian year, marked by four Sundays looking eagerly toward Christmas, we retell the stories from our spiritual ancestors of anticipation, of watching expectantly for the future God is unfolding, of yearning for God to intervene in history. In this special season, as the bustle of Christmas saturates our lives, we ponder again the great paradox of our faith—the mystery of the Incarnation.

We worship a God beyond boundaries, a God that the universe cannot contain (1 Kings 8:27), but a God whose entire being made its home in the body of a peasant craftsman (Colossians 1:19).

Advent is a time not to try and untangle this mystery but to live within it, to live as though the boundless hope, peace, joy, and love of God were present with and within us: the infinite in the finite.

Here at Central Christian, there are a few ways that we’ll be celebrating this season of miracle and mystery. The first is through Advent Unbound, our new Sunday School curriculum for adults and youth. We’ll be listening to some poetry and commentary by Irish theologian and poet Pádraig Ó Tuama and then discussing how they relate to the themes of Advent. You can get your companion devotional, which includes reflections and practices for you to take into your week, as well as a special Christmas Eve devotion, in either PDF e-book or print format, just reach out and let me know what you’d like.

Secondly, we are celebrating how finite things like coats, mittens, and sleeping bags can be vessels for the infinite grace of God to those in need. There is a tree set up at the back of the fellowship hall where you can leave new or gently used winter gear and bedding for our neighbors who are spending the winter with minimal shelter. We will gather these items during the Advent season and give them to Helping Hands to distribute to those who need them.

Lastly, as Advent is a time to celebrate new beginnings, we are starting something new in how we livestream our worship services. From now on, Sunday worship will be broadcast on our YouTube channel, rather than on Zoom, for you to watch live or revisit at your leisure later on. We will continue to use Zoom on Sundays, but the Zoom room will open after worship so that those who are worshipping at home can visit with each other and with those at coffee hour. Both links will be available on our website and in the weekly email.

In this season of Advent, expect the unexpected, look for the infinite in the finite, and prepare to be surprised by God’s boundless Spirit.

Yours in anticipation,
Pastor Stephen