by David Melton
I have the best of both worlds — I live in a small town that is a suburb of a big city. I can have “big city stuff” when the mood hits me (and if that includes the occasional traffic jam, I don’t even have to have the “mood”) but yet I can come home to Kim and the boys and things hardly feel very urban. Still, though, we “live” in a big city. At Christmastime, the big city — Boston — has a lot of pretty cool holiday trappings. They freeze the Frog Pond in Boston Common so you can ice skate … pretty fun. Okay, it’s more fun when it is Boston Baptist College students who skate (who actually can skate), than for me, since I can only manage to be a one-man train wreck on ice. But it’s a winter, holiday kind of thing to do in the big city. Our students have a blast in Boston. Many of you kind of did that with us last fall. Big deal. Really big deal.
Sometimes I wonder why God sent Jesus into the world in a little place, a really little place. Bethlehem. If it were me I think I would have gone bigger, had a parade with gigantic inflatables and I know I would have pushed for some ticker tape. Marching bands, too — kind of a Rose-Bowl-parade-sort-of-big-city shindig. Big cities are so good at that kind of thing. We Bostonians love that feel of bigness (probably why we have such issues with New York … some sort of polis-Napoleonic thing — since they are so much bigger than we are, but I digress.
Little place, who celebrates that? I never hear a student say, “Hey I think we should take a day and go hang out in Montpelier, VT, or Ossipee, NH, or Otis, MA” (no offense to anybody). We are drawn to the enormous and spectacular. We tend to overlook the small, the “normal,” the basic.
But God didn’t.
Bethlehem. Least in Judah. Just a hamlet really — not sure how many stoplights, but certainly no traffic jams. The big city, Jerusalem, was just over the hill to the north, but Joseph and Mary walked right on past it. Little Bethlehem — that is, ironically, where the big things happened.
I think we have here a good Christmas lesson. In a world absolutely infatuated with the spectacular and mammoth, we must remember to go little. A little Baby born in a little town. Biggest news ever. Let’s finish up the year relishing the power of small.
As long as God is big, nothing else is size-sensitive. If the bank account is small, join the crowd. If evil seems to dwarf us, no news there. Feel insignificant in a celebrity-crazed society? I know what you mean. Yet, sometimes less is more. So have a merry “little” Christmas — from all of us in the big city.