Monday, December 10, 2012

Small Players in a Big Story

 Moving kings. Moving stars. Moving history.

Opening the curtain of time for the entrance of His long-awaited, long-predicted Son.

Imagine being on the stage of history two thousand-plus years ago, in the opening scene of the arrival of the God-man Jesus Christ.

Would you have been a humble shepherd? A distraught innkeeper? A searching magi? And if you had been there, do you think you would have fully realized the enormity of the production you were a small player in?  Probably not.

I imagine at one time or another, we have all wished we had been there - somewhere - to have witnessed firsthand the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus into our world.

Though none of us will ever have that wish fulfilled, we have the benefit of reading several Biblical accounts and seeing more of the story than many of the firsthand players did. Oftentimes you get to see more of the big picture when you observe it from afar, than when you are up close to the scene. And then sometimes we need to move and examine the story from a new angle to gain a fresh perspective.

I am enjoying seeing the "big picture"again this Christmas season. My family has never really participated in Advent, but this year I downloaded a copy of John Piper's Advent devotional, "Good News of Great Joy" (available free to download here.)

A couple of days ago, Pr. Piper talked about how God caused Roman emperor Caesar Augustus to call for a worldwide census, just so "two little people," Joseph and Mary, who were living in Nazareth, would go up to Bethlehem to fulfill ancient prophecy. Caesar may have thought he was a "Big Cheese" and had a really grand idea, but he was just a pawn to make way for a much greater Ruler and King.

"...It is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake but for the sake of God's little people - the little Mary and the little Joseph who have to be got from Nazareth to Bethlehem. God wields an empire to bless His children."

"He is a big God for little people, and we have great cause to rejoice that, unbeknownst to them, all the kings and presidents and premiers and chancellors of the world follow the sovereign decrees of our Father in heaven, that we, the children, might be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ."

Wow. We serve a Big God who loves and looks out for "little" people, like you and me.

 A few days later, I was captured by the story of the "star" the one that guided the royal magi right to the humble birthplace of Jesus.

"...What is plain concerning this matter of the star is that it is doing something that it cannot do on its own: it is guiding magi to the Son of God to worship Him....God is guiding foreigners to Christ to worship Him. And He is doing it be exerting global - probably even universal - influence and power to get it done."

An emperor. A star. An innkeeper. Three magi. A band of shepherds. A chorus of angels. A young virgin. A first-time father. All small players, but all important in the unfolding of the greatest story on earth and for all eternity.

In comparison to the "Star" of the show - Jesus - the rest of the "actors" fade from the limelight.  But, small does not mean insignificant.

Yes, we are "small" compared to the greatness and majesty and glory of Jesus Christ, but we are not insignificant. Not when we consider that He is the Hero who came to save us, the lost, the wounded, the sin-ridden enemies of God. 

It's pretty amazing that God used "small" players in a "big" story to welcome a "Big" King to save "small" people.

You may think you are a "small" player and that God is paying no attention to you. But He sent His Only Son to earth to die and then resurrect for you. You must be somebody pretty important to Him.

And, if you are so important, where do you fit into His story today? Are you playing your part?

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