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To Infinity and Beyond

Have you watched Toy Story or any of the sequels perhaps with your children or grandchildren? I am so excited that the final instalment of the film series ‘Toy Story 4’ is due for release in summer 2019. It will give me reason to watch the previous three films and delight in the antics of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the gang.
The film series has also bought into our language a catchphrase— ’to infinity and beyond’, first said by Buzz as he was about to demonstrate his ability to fly in Toy Story 1. But what does ‘beyond infinity’ mean?
In a sense, there is no such thing as “beyond infinity”, since infinity can’t be reached. In geometry however, if you go “beyond” infinity, you start coming back to your starting point from the opposite direction. Just like crossing the half-way point of a circle!1
Infinity is just to big to imagine. It is a concept that describes something without any natural bounds, or a number larger than any natural number—without end. It is so beyond comprehension that infinity has its own symbol , introduced by John Wallace, an English clergyman and mathematician, in 1655.
So if it is beyond quantifying, beyond our ability to rationalise and completely define, what does Buzz mean by infinity and beyond? I like the definition above, that if you go ‘beyond’ infinity, you start coming back to your starting point from the opposite direction.
It is a notion of infinity that brings me to an understanding of who God is.
At this season of Advent we can be lost in the world of infinite sales in the shops and on-line, infinite buying, infinite eating and partying, or so it may seem to many. But in all that busyness can be lost the infinite wonder of what Christmas is about. It was certainly lost in the parade down Dunfermline High Street for the switching on of the Christmas lights. There were bikers, Darth Vader and storm troopers, a bus and much more besides… but was there any sign of the Christian faith? No.
How can this have happened? That there is no Jesus in Christmas. But it is not just in the High Street parade in Dunfermline. Across our shops, TV screens, newspapers and billboards all we see if the constant clammer for our cash. Spend, spend, spend and all will be good apparently. Get the right food, the right presents and Christmas will be all wrapped up.
But it won’t.
I don’t in any way want to be a Scrooge figure—a moaner about those who enjoy the festivities, because after all, I love Christmas. I really do—I love the sparkly lights, the tinsel and glitter, the mince pies and mulled wine. And I love giving presents much more than receiving. But most of all, I love the FACT that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
It is the celebration of the one person in history that changed our world and our relationship with God our creator. As I write that line I can already hear the mockers calling ‘Really, Jesus was just some guy who was a braw laddie. Aye, he did some good things, said some decent stuff—but changed history. Naw!!”.
But know this, Christmas is the celebration of a baby, who became the man who disrupted his world, died for our sin, was raised to life, and ascended to God the Father. I know these words may not convince folk, but I know them to be true. Above I wrote ‘‘beyond infinity, you start coming back to your starting point from the opposite direction.
It is a notion of infinity that brings me to an understanding of who God is.
coming back to your starting point from the opposite direction. Our opposite direction is turning and going away from God. Only by the birth of Jesus Immanuel, GOD WITH US, are we able turn toward the starting point, who is God. We have infinite ways to ruin relationships, our bodies, our towns, cities, countryside and world but only one way back to the starting point. The one way is Jesus who was born a human baby, in the most unlikely of circumstances. And it is how we relate to Him that will shape our relationships beyond ourselves.
So this Christmas enjoy the festivities, always remembering that central to the story of Christmas is a child, in manger. A child who is beyond infinity. Yet is a person with whom you can have a relationship.
Want to know more—come visit us at GMC
Blessings and Happy Christmas in the name of Jesus Immanuel

Pastor Mike

1. https://www.italki.com/question/79248

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