We are surrounded by Christmas. By candles and carols and Christmas greetings which travel to the ends of the earth and back again. Even if you never end up in a church or a place of worship at this time of year, something of the Christmas spirit still rubs off. Who is not touched, in some way, by the spirit and mystery and wonder of these days? After all, even the Grinch who did his best to steal Christmas ends up catching the Christmas spirit. You have to love it. I do.
But, if we leave it at that…
With candles and carols and holiday wishes.
We may celebrate Christmas, but we may miss the meaning;
And spend our time looking for God in all the wrong places.
Here’s what I mean.
This time, when I read these words from the Jewish prophet Micah, I stumbled over one of the words. “But you, O Bethlehem, who are one of the little clans of Judah…”
It struck me that while we put halos around the heads of Mary and Joseph;
And add heaven sent shepherds to the holy mix;
And have Mary and Jesus welcomed and worshiped by astrologers we have turned into kings;
The reality is the entire Christmas narrative revolves around the word little.
As in “the least of these.”
Peasant girl suddenly a mother.
Day laborer father wondering how he will provide.
Shepherds, too long in the fields, suddenly showing up in town.
And, in Bethlehem of all places…least among all the clans of Judah.
Here’s my take away.
The way the story goes…
At least the way this story goes…
Is that rather amidst the grand and glorious God is found in the most common, the most ordinary, the least of these circumstances and moments and places of life. It occurs to me that if we really want to look for God we need to look for God there.