“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed…which is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown [it] becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches.” ~ Matthew 13:31-32
Of all the facets of the Advent season, hope might be the hardest to find. If we’re looking around us and not seeing hope, it could be that we’re not looking hard enough. Because hope starts small.
This world is all about living large. Athletes and entertainers lead excessive lifestyles, and we eat it up. We celebrate them on TV and in magazines. Then we go out and imitate them, buying up all the same fashions, cars, and gadgets. As much as we try to fight it, success is judged in the amount of stuff we accumulate. The bigger and more we have, the better. But if you dig beneath the surface, you won’t find much in the way of hope. In fact, you might even find despair where there should be hope.
I genuinely believe we can know God’s personality to a great extent through what he has revealed in the Bible. And time and time again, he celebrates the small. Whether it be baby Moses floating down the river, tiny David fighting a giant, or lone Elijah taking on hundreds of prophets, small is a big deal to God.
So of course, when it came time for God to enter our story, he didn’t do it with pomp and fanfare. He humbled himself, taking on the form of a baby born in the lowest of circumstances. But just as the mustard seed grows into something substantial, so did Jesus. That little baby grew up to be a king. It is the same way with God’s kingdom, starting out as something small and barely noticeable and growing into something bigger.
I believe Philippians 2 is one of the most important chapters in the Bible. Jesus humbled himself by being born in a small way. And it didn’t stop there. He could have grown in power, yet he chose to grow in humility, even suffering death on a cross for the sake of God’s kingdom. This chapter also calls on us to model the humility of Jesus.
This Christmas season, even though it seems like bigger and better is winning out, choose to celebrate the smaller things. Choose to give rather than receive. Choose to be humble. In doing so, you will begin to see little glimpses of hope everywhere you turn. And one day, hope will blossom.