How many of us think that our story – if we’re aware we even have one – isn’t important enough to share? With so many “important” things going on in the world, why would anyone want to listen to us? Why bother telling it?
This time of year, Christians are celebrating a story that was small in the context of the larger world. It was an insignificant sidebar to great and powerful “important” forces.
Caesar Augustus’ empire covered most of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. He had huge armies, which were loyal to him because he rewarded them with money, land, and slaves from captured lands. Residents of his capital city were given free grain year-round, the product of his empire – often leaving those who grew it hungry. High taxes were imposed, often leaving conquered lands in a state of near-poverty. The big stories of the day, the ones that had most people’s attention around the empire, would have been about armies, taxes, grain distribution, the loyalty of local rulers.
The big story in the Roman Empire most certainly wasn’t the birth of a baby to a carpenter and his young wife in Bethlehem, where they had gone to pay their taxes. And thirty years later, when a radical preacher in a far corner of the empire traveled for three years with a band of followers before being put to death for insurrection, it still wasn’t “front page news” as far as Rome was concerned.
No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs are, you’d have to agree that Jesus’ story turned out to be much bigger and lasting than anything “big” that was happening in the Roman Empire of his day.
His message of rethinking (repenting), unselfish love blessing one’s enemies, facing off against sin and death, and physical healing by spiritual means was very powerful. His three years of preaching the message close to his heart caused a radical shift in the way a large part of the world thinks, prays, and acts two thousand years later. At the time, his message reached the people it needed to, to make their lives better and to inspire some of them to carry his message forward.
Think again about your message. It’s not too small in the scheme of things to have an impact!
Have you learned to stand up to bullying, and can inspire others to do the same? Have you had an insight into relationships that might let someone else sleep better at night? Did you overcome a fear of publicly standing up for a cause that could help others stand up as well? It may not seem like much, compared to what commonly makes big news or sells books or ends up on reality television. But there are people who need to hear what you have to say! If you’ve successfully overcome something in your life, if you’ve triumphed over suffering, others can benefit from your experience – if they hear about it. Otherwise, they may continue to believe they have to suffer.
In this season when we celebrate a story of light and hope, let’s all commit to sharing our own experiences of light and hope to bless the world.
Every one of us, as an expression of the divine, has an amazing story we’re being compelled to tell!
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