Christmas The Mighty Littleness

Christmas – the very word warms and balms our hearts, bringing in the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that wraps our hearts and our surroundings. It weaves a spell of nostalgia in our hearts; a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything and everyone we have ever loved. There is nothing sadder in this festive season than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.
During Christmas we are not celebrating a world being magically altered once and for all, but we confess that even now there is still hope for our world, however delicate and fragile it might appear. Rain or shine, it is a beautiful world. Limitations are part of life’s exciting variety. During the Christmas night, the night of nights, in that moment’s magic, we celebrate the forever new story – the old story of God’s eternal trust in us. Old stories always contain a new meaning, and they refuse to grow old with the passage of time. That is why old stories remain forever enthralling.
Beyond the external hustle and bustle of festivity, and the Christmas carnival, the real spirit of Christmas might become rather intangible; yet, Christmas has its own peculiar fragrance. The first Christmas – how simple and unadorned it was! A baby was born. Babies are born every day. The ordinariness of the Divine – that is the gift to us. It is the encounter between heaven and earth, the human and the divine; it connects us with our deepest humanity. First Christmas took place down on the farm, in a lowly stable. It was, and still is, so unbelievable – God in a manger! The God of our faith is the Lord who comes daily in the midst of what is insignificant in this world. Divinity is always where we least expect to find it – God among the sinners and the outcasts, God in the dust and the gutters, God upon a cross - God of insignificant things – God of small things. Christmas announced that all places, all people, all events matter to God.
“A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom” (Isa.11:102). Our salvation comes from something small, tender, and vulnerable, something hardly noticeable. God, who is the Creator of the Universe, comes to us in smallness, weakness and hiddenness. The power of God is made manifest in weakness, in utter simplicity. Simplicity is the peak of civilization. God became a simple child, a little babe. Little things do matter, because they go a long way. Babies insistently call us out of ourselves. Children always challenge us to live in the present. They want us to be with them ‘here and now’, and they find it hard to understand that we might have other things to do or to think about. They call us to set aside our worries and concerns and give our love and our whole being to them. They want us to be ‘fully’ present to them and pull us directly into the moment.
The God who fashioned us also created us with a powerful urge to care for babies who in their vulnerability and helplessness cry out for our attention, our care and our concern. This same God, our Creator, astonishingly enough, comes to us now as a helpless baby! This is how He chose to seek our love. It is a wonder that will never cease to capture our imagination and our hearts – an apparent foolishness of God that is wiser than all human wisdom. There is a depth to the story of the birth of Jesus which none of us can ever exhaust. It is a tale that will never have an ending. God is no longer distant and removed from us in His faraway heaven; God is now forever near. He is not simply alongside with us; He is ‘with us’ (Emmanuel) – in every aspect of human living. Nothing human is alien to God. We are loved by God more than we can ever know.
What will be our gift to Him, the Giver and Source of all gifts? Once upon a time an owl asked the dove, “How much does a snowflake weigh?” “Nothing,” said the dove. “Well,” the owl replied, “let me tell you what happened to me on a cold wintry night. I was perched on the branch of an evergreen when it began to snow heavily. I began to count the snowflakes falling on my branch. The number was 3, 42,356. When the next snowflake, which you claim weighs “nothing,” fell on the branch, it broke off and fell to the ground.” The owl flew off.
The dove reflected for a while. Finally she said, “No one can do everything, but like the last snowflake, everyone can do something. Perhaps it’s just my one comforting word that is needed to bring about peace and joy in my family.” I can be that last snowflake. No one can do everything, but each of us can do something. Perhaps, as the dove has taught us, it is just a word from our part that is needed to heal someone, to ignite a hope in someone’s life. May be a little kind deed can uplift someone from the dark pit of life. The longest journey starts with a single step. On the first Christmas night, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the Magi, the angels and the Son of God himself, each took their ‘one step’ which forever changed the world.
You may say, “I have tried to be a little kind, tried to do a little good, but I’ve failed. So, I do nothing.” Let Michael Jordan, one of the most eminent stalwarts of 20th century basketball, reply to us: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my professional basketball career. I’ve lost more than 300 games, and 26 times I’ve missed the game-winning shot. Throughout my career I’ve failed and failed again. But I kept trying. That’s why I succeed.”
At this joyful season, where gifts and warm wishes hold sway in our thinking, it is so refreshing to believe that I myself can be that gift, nay, I myself am that gift! You are a gift to everyone; let everyone be a gift to you. To this world God sends me. In this world, I have a mission to complete, a task to fulfill, however simple and little it may appear. And this is only possible if I make a total response to God’s spirit within me.
If we wish to be a gift to another, perhaps we don’t need to look for a fabulous one: here is a simple list: the gift of listening, the gift of an embrace, the gift of a smile, the gift of a letter, a card, a compliment, an e-mail, an SMS, a call (even a miscall?), a kind deed to someone… To your enemy, forgiveness; to your opponent, tolerance; to a friend, a heartfelt wish, to a customer, a smiling service; to all charity; to yourself, respect. You are a gift of God. You are a gift to everyone. Let everyone be a gift to you.