In my role as Theological Education Specialist I had the privilege in 2019 to teach emerging church leaders in Ireland, Burundi, London, Myanmar, India and Thailand, and to stretch out even further through my involvement with Theologians Without Borders and as an affiliate faculty member with Fuller Seminary. Actually, God let you and me do it together – thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support! This sort of work is exciting and wonderful. God’s world is big and dynamic and diverse, and his church is growing strong in what we might consider the most unlikely places.
But right now the Lord is drawing my attention instead to his grace in smaller moments and encounters. Unpacking boxes and painting rooms in my new house in Richmond, VA. Cooking for five for Thanksgiving – my daughter and son-in-law, toddler grandson, and a local friend. Hosting a scaled-down version of my annual Christmas party with lovely friends helping bring this tradition to my new house. Meals and coffee chats here and there with a few special new friends in the Richmond area. This quiet Christmas week in South Carolina with my sweet parents-in-law who continue to demonstrate God’s love to me so generously. And perhaps most of all the birth of another little grandson last Thursday. Simple, ordinary things that refract God’s character and redemptive mission every bit as much as do those larger more dramatic ministry events. I’m struck that the Creator God of the grand cosmic gesture so often chooses to do his work on such an intimate human scale.
Which of course is what we’re celebrating at Christmas, isn’t it? In order to bring us back to himself God entered this broken creation not in his overwhelming power but as a tiny, vulnerable, needy infant. A small baby. Small spaces. Small moments. It surprises me that so often this is exactly where God chooses to make himself known, to initiate his glory to come. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2). Emmanuel, God with us in the small places, drawing us toward himself as he rules over all the earth.