The Sufi Muslim poet, Rumi said:
You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.
Which makes me wonder…
When was the last time you felt you were only one person. Too small to make a difference? When was the last time you felt too insignificant to impact or to influence the change which, when you look around you and into your heart of hearts, you know needs to be made? When was the last time you felt too small to change the world? The last time you felt like a drop in the bucket to say nothing of a drop in the ocean?
Which brings us to today.
And, to Advent.
And, to its miraculous, jaw-dropping story of the birth of Jesus. Not miraculous because of Mary or angels or wondrous star or wisemen who find their way. Miraculous because everything one would normally expect in a story like this gets turned upside down.
The holy city Jerusalem is replaced by backwater Bethlehem.
Herod and his royal court are replaced by Joseph and Mary.
The Roman legions partroling the countryside and streets in an effort to maintain law and order is replaced by the heavenly hosts who sing Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace.
The Emperor Caesar Augustus is replaced by Jesus of Nazareth.
The drop in the bucket becomes the bucket.
The drop in the ocean becomes the ocean.
And, if this story is true, then this also is true.
The small things matter and can make a difference.
The kind word.
The caring touch.
The welcome extended.
And, this is true.
The forgotten shall be the ones who step forward and claim their place.
The disparaged shall be the ones whose presence helps to bend the long arc of history in the direction of the Kingdom of God.
The marginalized and the silenced shall be the ones who find their voice and sing and shout.
And, this also is true.
Too small is no longer an excuse to do nothing.
Too insignificant is no longer a reason to turn away.
For if God can use Bethlehem God can use you.
If God can use Mary and Joseph God can use you.
If God can speak to the shepherds huddled in the field God can speak to you.
If wisemen can see and follow a star so can you.
Because you are the ocean.
Paul Alcorn is the Pastor at Bedford Presbyterian Church in Bedford Village, New York.