I had the privilege of reading a remarkable book this week: Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places by L. L. Barkat.
In many ways, Barkat spoke to my heart (or rather, the Holy Spirit, through her pen, whispered some lifechanging words.) Consider this:
I prefer the Master side of God better than the Child,
so I look for the big ministry opportunities
while neglecting hundreds of opportunities
presented every day–in the fields of my common relationships.”
I resonate with her struggle. I, too, seem to prefer the spectacular to the mundane. But as this season of Advent meanders (or rushes, depending on how you look at it), I can’t stop thinking about God as a Child, a Baby.
He reconfigured His majesty in the womb of a peasant. He stooped lower than we’ll ever stoop. He, the Rock of Ages, became, in the quarry of His own making, a pebble, good for paths underfoot.
While I dream of doing big things for God, I forget the pebble, the humility, the stark reality of God becoming Child. In the greatest reversal of history, God traded opulence for ordinariness–for the sake of us who walk with Him underfoot.
In that musing, I revisit Barkat’s words. Perhaps worshiping the Baby in a Manger has more to do with loving folks in ordinary, pedestrian ways. Of lowering ourselves enough to see who it is He places before us. If God so lowered Himself to relate and commune with us, shouldn’t we follow in His footsteps? To stoop? To empty? To open our eyes to the divine possibilities in our daily lives?
Lord, forgive us for trying to be grandiose. For forgetting the humility You portrayed by emptying Yourself of accolades. What a holy risk You took by becoming a pebble–and what a risk! We, who trample You underfoot, ask Your forgiveness. Help us today to honor Your transformation by becoming part of Your redemptive plan. By loving those You place in our lives in quiet, unheralded moments. Help us to pick up a pebble today and consider what You’ve done. Help the weight of it in our pockets remind us to walk humbly and simply with You, being attuned to Your whispers, no matter what they say. Amen.
If you’re looking for a contemplative, beautifully written book, I’d encourage you to pick up a copy or five (great for Christmas gifts!).