The Christmas Message when You Feel Small, and the Task Is Too Big

by | Dec 22, 2023 | Faith | 11 comments

A Christmas Message

Are visions of sugarplums dancing in your head yet?

We are in the midst of that season of imagination, of wonderment, and, of course, of desperately rushing around at the last minute hoping a good gift idea for your mother-in-law magically pops into your head.

Besides the rush, Christmas can often be quite a peaceful time, at least here in the West. For those of us in the Northern hemisphere, it gets dark early, so Christmas lights are cheery and brighten the neighbourhood as we go for walks. 

People get time off work and can relax, laugh with their kids and families. 

We often get to eat really great food (even if we have to also cook it!).

But for many of us, this Christmas season brings a lot of uncertainty too. 

Where do you go when it feels like your church may not be a safe place for you or your kids, because it focuses on making sure that only men get a voice? Or it covers up for abuse and doesn’t take concerns about domestic violence seriously enough?

What do you do when you desperately want to hold on to Jesus, but all the big Christian organizations around you that are sending you fund-raising emails sound like they’re fighting for things that don’t look like Jesus?

I think the Christmas season can answer some of those questions.

Just imagine how small Mary and Joseph must have felt, with Herod coming after them and wise men visiting them from afar. God, when He chose to step down into humanity and make the biggest change ever seen, didn’t come to the Sanhedrin or to Herod, but to a young, unknown woman in a small village.

Just imagine how the shepherds felt, being visited by angels when shepherds were often ignored by those in polite company. Yet they were given the celestial concert–not the leaders of the synagogues. 

Or fast forward a few years.

Just imagine how the disciples must have felt after Jesus’ Ascension into heaven. Sure, they had the Holy Spirit. But they were still only a few, and the whole world was coming against them. People didn’t see the truth. How could such a small band of people spread the message of truth and hope?

Yet Jesus entrusted it to them.

Just imagine how Christmas must have felt in 1527, or 1532, for followers of Jesus. Martin Luther had nailed his theses to the Wittenberg door a decade prior, and many were listening to his message, but where were they now to go worship? There weren’t really new churches! And if you were a believer outside of Luther’s main towns, you’d feel quite lonely. 

But you don’t know that your grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, are going to have a very different religious landscape, because huge changes are coming (and much bloodshed too).

It seems like God’s modus operandi is to have the foolish things of the world confound the wise, to have the small overcome the large. 

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We serve a God who tells us to rejoice in the day of small things. (Zechariah 4:10)

One of the things I’m rejoicing about is this community.

No, the biggest names in evangelicalism aren’t listening to our message. But people are. You are. That’s why you’re here!

And when God shakes things up, He starts at the margins, with the unsuspecting, with those who look meek. They certainly don’t look dangerous!

Yet it is through those who are weak, those who are small, those who are often unorganized, that God does major work.

You may feel small and insignificant right now, and feel like the task is too big.

This is a good time of year to feel that way, because the Christmas story reminds us that we are not alone at feeling small.

Yet it also tells us one another thing.

The Christmas message is a simple but profound one: Emmanuel, God with us.

When we feel small, when we feel alone, when we feel like things are helpless, we can remember, Emmanuel, God with us. 

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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11 Comments

  1. NL

    Thank you, that was lovely.

    Reply
    • Kristy

      Amen.

      Reply
  2. JG

    Thank you. Hope your Christmas is truly blessed. You are right. God uses the weak to confound the wise. We don’t have to be well-known to impact the world around us. A simple act of kindness can make a difference in someone’s day.

    Reply
  3. Taylor

    This spoke to me today. Thank you. As a single parent, and with the extra isolation of having a special needs child who needs lots of medical support, I have felt very small and often unseen. Thank you for the reminder that God shows up for “small” people. And that how heaven prioritizes is different than how the earth prioritizes. You’re right. He didn’t come to the kings or the religious leaders with well-known names. He came to the obscure people that looked insignificant.

    Reply
    • JG

      Hugs. It is a hard job to have a special needs child. I will remember you in my prayers.

      Reply
      • Taylor

        Thank you 🥰.

        Reply
  4. Laura

    Merry Christmas to you all at Bare Marriage! Your work has shown me what the true Jesus looks like. May your holiday season be full of joy!

    Reply
  5. Lisa Johns

    Merry Christmas to all of you, and much blessing on your new year! I think we are going to see some major shifts in the coming year! ❤️🎄🎉

    Reply
  6. Boone

    My dad told me a story that he swore up and down was true.
    In Dec of 1944 the last German counteroffensive started through the forests of Belgium. History would call it the Battle of the Bulge. The Americans were caught with their pants down and thrown back with heavy losses. To add to their misery this all happened in the middle of a major snow storm.
    Four badly damaged American tanks were limping to the rear when they came upon a 17 year old infantryman digging a hole. The boy was all alone. The ranking Sgt. On the tanks poked his head up through the hatch with the intent of inquiring about the boy’s sanity. Before he could the young soldier asked the Sgt. If they were looking for a safe place. The Sgt. Replied that they were and the boy told him,” well, pull in behind me. I’m the 99th Infantry Division and this is as far as the b@$)”/?!s are going.” The Sgt. radioed the other three tanks and said. “We’ll, you heard him. Deploy in a defensive position behind him.”
    Beefier long soldiers alone, in groups of two or three or even ten began trickling out of the woods. The boy told them all the same thing and soon that lone fox hole became a defensive line. It was as far as the Germans got. Sometimes you’ve just got to stop and dig a hole.

    Reply
    • Marie

      Love this

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      What a great story, Boone! You’re honestly a great storyteller. I never know what your comments are going to be!

      Reply

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