Being a Little Person at Christmas image

Being a Little Person at Christmas

The Swiss theologian Karl Barth once wrote a Christmas letter to a group of Christians in Japan. The group were avid readers of his work, and Barth wanted to acknowledge this, whilst acknowledging how unimportant he considered himself to be in the grand scheme of things. He made the point that at Christmas we learn how to become little people.

Obviously, he didn’t mean that we get physically smaller at Christmas; I for one tend to significantly increase in size over those food-filled days! What he meant was that the meaning of Christmas is the becoming incarnate of God in Christ. When we begin to understand the fact that God humbled himself in this way we can only ourselves become humbled. He writes:

Face to face with the child that was born in Bethlehem nearly two thousand years ago because God loved us all and still loves us today, there ARE no great men, but only small men, both in Europe and in Asia. Face to face with Him, we can be thankful and joyful people and I still wish to become more of such a person.

Maybe our new year’s resolutions should be about becoming smaller, not through weight loss, but through loss of self-importance in response to the incarnation of the Word.
So in response to the three Christmas questions:
What is on your Christmas reading list? Nothing that’s going to make me greater
How does a theologian spend Christmas? Trying to become smaller
What are you hoping to achieve in the next year? An increasingly smaller size

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