Dec. 24, 2017 (Christmas Eve Service)
Great Things Come in Small Packages
There is a saying in my home country, “Small chili peppers are spicier.” This saying is directed at those of small stature and those who look down on them (metaphorically) for their small stature. Short people tend to be stronger and feistier. Don’t mess with short people because they are feistier than you think. Don’t underestimate short people! This is the lesson to be learned.
This Advent, I have been reading a beautiful and short book called the Simple Blessings of Christmas: 30 Reasons to Celebrate the Season. This book is arranged in 30 really short chapters to be read like a daily devotional; one chapter each day. Among the 30 blessings of Christmas that its author Mark Gilroy mentions is “Christmas teaches us that greatness begins in small packages.” It struck me because I think this statement captures the essence and meaning of Christmas perfectly.
The two stories of the first Christmas in Matthew and Luke both tell stories of outsiders and marginalized people playing the key roles in the birth of the baby who will grow up to be the saviour. Mary and Joseph were not exactly from a noble or wealthy background. Shepherds who were visited by the angels in the field were not exactly considered a respectable job. The wise men who came from a foreign country were, well, foreigners/ outsiders. According to Matthew’s story, the Holy Family had to flee to Egypt. Did you get this one? They were refugees/ asylum seekers in a foreign country. According to Luke’s story, Jesus was born in a stable and used a manger as his bed. These are the characters and circumstances surrounding the Holy Birth; “little” people and their humble lives are the first Christmas. But that’s not all; this baby grows up and becomes a homeless errand preacher, living and dying for the gospel that promotes social justice through favouring the poor and the marginalized. Great things come in small packages? Yes, I would definitely think so. And since God’s love came to earth in the form of a baby, the word “small” is not only used metaphorically but also literally.
This Christmas, let us meditate on small, simple, and humble things because that’s what the first Christmas story was about. Let us rejoice in humble and not-so-fancy things. Gifts and decorations, our celebration dinner, they don’t have to be fancy! There was nothing fancy about the first Christmas. Don’t get me wrong; I love the fancy lights decorating houses that I don’t have. I love the big Christmas trees with fancy decorations that I don’t have. But this Christmas even among the fancy lights, trees, and gifts, let us find joy in small and humble things like young children. I love watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas; the cynical Grinch vs. innocent Cindy Lou Who. I love how the power of Cindy’s innocence move Grinch. God’s kingdom values little people, whether they are literally young and small or we’re talking about social status. I also love all the sweets that are available this time of the year. They make me happy like little children.
So I would like to wish you a wonderful, blessed, and happy Christmas not only full of rich food and spectacular decorations, but also full of humble and childlike joy. And also remember the little people of our world; the poor and the marginalized, since Jesus came for all people, including and especially for them. Merry Christmas!
Rev. Sunny Kim