Advent Calendar Door #20 – Jesus is…small

Posted: December 20, 2015 by leighannegreenwood in Uncategorized

Today’s reflection is brought to us by Mike, and came out of the ‘God is Jesus’ session that inspired this advent blog.

Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus into the world. It’s a time when Christians reflect on God descending from heaven into the mess and chaos of human experience. It’s a testimony to God’s love and his mercy and his grace toward us, his disobedient creations. One thing that I’ve noticed is that, throughout the Old Testament, when people encountered God they were generally afraid. Fire and thunder and an immense and overwhelming sense of presence meant that most people would bow and fall down before the might and the strength of God.

Compare this with how Jesus arrives. Quietly, almost secretly, not in some grand apartment or large palace, but a stable. Not as a prince or noble, but child of a poor family held in disgrace by their relatives. Not fear this time. Only the love of a mother for her new born baby. Only the humble adoration of shepherds, the sincere worship and prophesy of foreign mystics.

Now we know the end of the story, we know of the massive shift in human understanding of God that took place. We know of the radical and outrageous grace that stemmed from Jesus’ death. But on that night when there is a new born baby lying in a manger, a child left behind in the temple, a young man at a wedding who turns water to wine, a travelling healer and wandering preacher branded a dangerous threat by the establishment, it all centres on one man.

Jesus was a man who respected that he had limits, often pushing himself to the edge, but then taking alone time to pray and to reflect and to recharge. I know of many Christians who don’t accept their humanity. They drive themselves endlessly to serve others until they have nothing left. If Jesus could acknowledge his human limitations, what’s our excuse? Jesus wasn’t a super hero, he couldn’t or wouldn’t make all the bad stuff go away, but what he did do was always make a difference where he was. Changing lives one encounter, one conversation at a time.

The Jewish people were expecting a mighty and heroic conqueror to destroy the ruling foreign power and establish the ‘chosen people’ at the top of the hierarchy forever. What they got instead wasn’t an army. It was a single, quiet, humble and compassionate man.

One man.

Twelve friends.

A two thousand year legacy.

Jesus is small.

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