“This is my favorite night, not just around Christmas, but of the entire year,” the woman gushed to me as we stood in the Auditorium on Sunday night during our “Living Nativity.” I had not met her before. She had already “confessed” that she was not a member of Central. And yet, as she put it, what made the night so special was that all sorts of folks from all sorts of backgrounds and from all around the area were together, joyous, celebrating. “This is my favorite night.” And I had to agree with her.
Of course, it is an example of what Central Church takes as its core mission—to be Central—to create space where community can gather to celebrate, to learn, simply to be. And Central takes that as its core mission in imitation of what the Bible calls God’s Kingdom, or better, given the sensitivities of language, God’s Reign—a vision of all the people of the world, gathered together with all their beautiful diversity, joyous, celebrating, at peace. “This is my favorite night,” because on that Sunday night in the Auditorium, it was like you could almost glimpse the future for which we still hope, towards which we still press.
And I wonder, what would your December look like if you spent it on the lookout, not just for bargains to put under the tree, but for times when you could reach out to someone, reach beyond your comfort zone, reach across all that divides us? Might a favorite night be transformed into a way to beat back the deepening darkness of these days, the growing grayness of these times with the brightness of goodness and love?
--Pastor Don Steele