On this Christmas Eve, my mom made yet another tantalizing batch of cookies. As I helped her roll the dough into sweet small spheres, I savored the feeling of the gritty sugar and sticky wetness against my hands. The smell of cinnamon and cloves and ginger filled the air. Loud energetic laughter trickled up the stairs from the basement. Scraps of ribbon floated around, mysteriously homeless.
Suddenly, life's big questions and messy problems seemed very small and insignificant and far away next to things this tangible. Vague questions and uncertainties vaporized against the solid reality of golden, spicy ginger cookies and bright twinkle-lights sparkling on the Christmas tree a few feet away.
And that, of course, is partly what Christmas is all about. Sometimes those things that seem big and important and pressing shrink into dust and blow away in the face of realities like cookies and ribbons and lights and laughter on a cold snowy night.
In the end, kings and legions of soldiers and all the power the Roman empire could muster didn't really matter very much compared to a seemingly insignificant infant born in an unimportant corner of the world.
In the end, then, Christmas is about making much of small things. Christmas is about remembering that sometimes God's perspective is different than ours. Christmas is about commemorating the tiny, the tangible, and the real. And Christmas is about celebrating one lone event that, in the whole wide expanse of history, really did matter.