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A Letter from the General Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery

An Advent Greeting
December 19, 2013

“When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman.” ~Galatians 4:4

Philosophers of religion agree with the writers of the Bible – time does not limit and define God’s existence as it does ours. One day is as a thousand years, or vice versa, in God’s domain (2 Peter 3). God Is “eternal,” utterly beyond the clock and calendar that mark our lives.

Yet God comes to us in the Son’s incarnation “in the fullness of time.” At just the right moment, when all is ready, Mary becomes pregnant and gives birth to Jesus. Not a day too early, not a minute too late. God, for whom time means nothing, comes to human beings for whom time means everything at just the right time for us. Any time would work just as well for God, but not so for us. Jesus breaks in “just when I need him most,” an old gospel song declares.

Marvel with me at the “divine condescension” of the incarnation. God meets us at a particular place and time, exactly at the point of our greatest need. Bethlehem, not Jerusalem. During the reign of Augustus, not Julius or Tiberias. Beside the inn, not in it. At night, not during the day. Precisely then and there appears the One who is present always and everywhere. The One who fills all things forever becomes one single living soul, fully subject to the confines of space, time, and mortality.

In the same way God sent the Son, Paul continues, “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.” (Galatians 4:6). At just the right time, in exactly the right place, God “shows up” for us. In Pittsburgh, not just in Bethlehem. In our home, not just in the manger. At our bosom, not just Mary’s. In December 2013, exactly where we are most in need, not just two thousand years ago in Bethlehem.

Marvel with me.

O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord!

Blessed Christmas to all,

The Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, General Minister

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