Sermon, Christmas Eve, 3PM

This is a story about big and small. 

God is big. 

Not big like a whale or a tall building or the ocean. 

Big like you can’t even find the edges, where God begins and ends. 

Big like you can’t find the beginning when God wasn’t yet. 

Big like everywhere, like always. 

God is so big that nobody is more or less important to God.

God can know and love each star and every dog. 

God knows how many hairs are on your head, and still has time to be present with a parent grieving in Ukraine and an elephant giving birth in Botswana. 

God is big. 

But a baby is small. 

Who’s seen a newborn baby?

Who has held one? … 

They’re pretty small, right? 

Small and floppy and helpless. 

The heart of this story, the story we tell today, the reason it’s important, is this:

God who is big, SO big, became as small as a newborn baby. And why? To come close to us. 

It’s a big mystery, a strange thing to think about! 

It’s the kind of thing that is easier to talk about with poems and music and art, than to explain it like a lesson at school.

Let’s talk a little more about big and little. Let’s do a quiz.

Is an elephant big or little?

Is a chipmunk big or little? 

Is an ocean big or little?

Is a puddle big or little? 

Is ice cream big or little? 

Is a star big or little?

Is dawn big or little?

Is a sprouting seed big or little?… 

Has anybody ever grown a seed & watched it sprout? 

I learned something interesting a couple of weeks ago. 

The Bible wasn’t written in English. English didn’t exist yet! 

Parts of it were written in a language called Hebrew, and parts of it were written in a language called Greek.

And in Greek, there’s a word that can mean two things: 

It can mean dawn, sunrise. When the sun comes over the horizon and starts to light up the whole sky and everything under the sky.

Did we decide dawn is little or big? 

That Greek word can also mean a seed sprouting, breaking through the ground to stick up a tiny green sprout.

Did we decide that a sprouting seed is little or big? …

It says in the Bible that Jesus’ birth is like a kind of dawn.

Like the sun rising on people who have been sitting and waiting in the dark for so, so long.

And maybe Jesus’ birth is also like a sprouting seed. Like life springing up where you couldn’t see anything alive, before…

Dawn is big and a sprouting seed is tiny, but they can both be held in the same word. Pretty cool! 

The thing about dawn and a sprouting seed is that they both make you think things are going to keep happening, right?

Dawn is just the very very beginning of morning, of a new day.

And a sprouting seed is the very, very beginning of a plant. Maybe of a field, or a garden, or a forest. Who knows? 

There are so many things a sprouting seed could become.

You have to keep watching and pay attention and find out. 

In the Christmas story, when God is born as a human baby, God comes to us as something very small. 

But that’s not the only way God shows up in the little things. 

When we read the Bible and listen to the Spirit and learn from the saints and wise ones of the faith, we learn about God’s purposes, God’s intentions, how God means things to be.

Things like kindness and peace, justice and making things right, healing what hurts, building better ways and worlds, helping people have enough, helping people be their real true selves. 

When we watch and pay attention, we might notice the small ways God is nudging those things along.

And we might notice the little ways we have a chance to join in and help move the world towards kindness and justice. 

Like putting out food for the birds when it’s snowy. 

Or listening to someone who’s struggling. 

Or sharing with people who don’t have enough.

Or writing a letter to a leader to ask them to do the right thing. 

We need some big changes, too; we all now that.

But it’s important to tend to the little things.

Little things can be beginnings. 

Little things can add up.

Little things can matter in big ways. 

I like to give people a gift on Christmas Eve. My gift this year is to help you remember to tend to little things. 

It’s a little box, and inside is an even littler baby Jesus. …