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Do you ever feel insignificant?
(A Christmas Reflection)

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Do You Ever Feel Insignificant ? 

Do you ever feel insignificant? Then take heart - Christmas has something significant to say to you. Christmas, after all, celebrates a seemingly insignificant event which took place in an insignificant little village and involved a number of insignificant people. Every major player in the Christmas drama is a 'small person', insignificant, bereft of power, glamour or status, truly 'ordinary'. Mary - a young teenager, Joseph - a carpenter to trade - so poor, so disadvantaged that they could not even rent an inn in which to birth their Child.  

Later they would pay the lowest temple offering allowed by the Law. The shepherds in the fields, who greeted the new-born Child with beery breath, were the despised underclass of Israel - deemed to be untrustworthy and beyond the pale. Zechariah and Elizabeth, Jesus' aunt and uncle, were senior citizens - a forgotten elderly couple, burdened with the 'poverty' of childlessness, which was considered to be the greatest misfortune to befall any couple at that time. 

Thus it was that those who first recognised, accepted and adored the new-born Light of the world were not monarchs, politicians or prelates, were not 'the movers and shakers' of society. It was, instead, the dispossessed and castoffs - outcast shepherds, 'pagan' wise men. It was the 'anawim' - Hebrew for 'poor little ones' - the insignificant, forgotten and overlooked ones, poor in the baubles of this world, but rich in humbleness, honesty and trust. 

It is abundantly clear from history that God's personal preference is for insignificant people, powerless people, humble people. Indeed, consistently throughout history God has used the powerless to humble the powerful. Moses had few, if any, speaking attributes while Jeremiah was a mere youth, and 'knew not how to speak'. Queen Esther was an adopted orphan, while Peter was an impulsive fisherman. Francis was deemed to be crazy, Ghandi a fool for his pacifism, Martin Luther King an agitator and malcontent and Mother Teresa an insignificant tiny nun. 

We live in a world obsessed with power, wealth, status, success, image and control, the 'promised land of financial security'. Yet it is highly significant, is it not, that the One born in a stable fits none of these categories. Indeed the manner in which God drew near to us at the first Christmas could not be more absurdly insignificant. After all, there is no more insignificant package than a new-born waif crying in the night. The glorious paradox is that God chose the insignificant to bring about an event of cosmic significance - nothing less than the saving of the world. 

Do you ever feel insignificant? Then take heart! If God runs true to form and is ever to be found entrusting his plans to his 'anawim', to his 'poor little ones', then don't be surprised if the Angel Gabriel comes knocking on the door of your heart one day, inviting you to do something of the utmost significance for the Kingdom's sake. Don't be surprised if, one day, you find yourself numbered among God's blessed ones. One thing is sure - from the perspective of eternity no one is deemed to be insignificant. 

Rev Tom Cuthell, Christmas 2001


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