2023-12-24 - Heiligabend - Familiengottesdienst - (EN) - Pfarrerin Nicole Otte-Kempf

( Micah 5:1-4 ) - [ Deutsch ]

Today we sing of Bethlehem, of the star over Bethlehem that shows us the way to the manger and of what we will find there: the little child. The Saviour comes from Bethlehem.

We can already read about this Bethlehem in the Old Testament. I read the words of the prophet Micah (Micah 5:1-4) from the Basisbibel (direct translation):

1But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, are too small to be counted among the country towns of Judah. But from your midst shall come one who will be ruler in Israel. His roots go back to ancient times, his origins are certain from the beginning. 

2Therefore the trouble will only last until a woman has given birth to the child. Then the rest of his brothers will return home to the people of Israel. 

He will arise and shepherd his people. The LORD will give him the strength and the power to do this. It is in the name of the LORD his God. Then they will be able to dwell safely in the land again. For his power will reach to the ends of the earth. 

4He will work for peace.

As you can hear: long before Jesus was born, the prophet Micah had a good word for little Bethlehem in Judah. 

Small, that's what I've been thinking about. 

When I was little, I always wanted to be big and Justus and Jonna are also looking forward to growing up and getting older. Sometimes you are made small. Both as a child and as an adult. 

Someone says mean things to you. 

Oh her, she can't do anything. 

Oh him, he's still a child, he doesn't know it. 

And so many of us live off the judgments of others.

When the prophet Micah lived, he experienced that Israel had been made small. Many foreign rulers were in power there. And they ruled over the people there. 

That's what the big ones do. That is the experience of the little ones. 

But that is precisely the soil on which Advent grows and Christmas shines. And I can only understand that when I stop playing the strong one myself. I sometimes find that difficult too.

I only really understand Christmas when I don't want to play the big one. But when I can bend down. Namely to the child in the manger. Born in a small town. Visited by little people, the shepherds, with whom no one wanted to have anything to do. A small child, the neediest edition of human beings. This is the unexpected God. A God that you have to bend down to if you want to meet him.

That is the answer for all those who are made small. 

Everything small has a future. Don't give up. Don't get carried away. Don't underestimate yourself. Don't give up. 

Look at what you have been given in life. Hold it dear. Even and especially the little things. 

God's love starts small. So says the Christmas Gospel, which we have just heard and seen in the nativity play. And - so says the Passion Gospel - God's love ends miserably. But, as the Easter Gospel testifies, it rises in glory and, according to the Gospel of Pentecost, God's love spreads like contagious health.

In our Christmas carols we sing about the small, the innocent, the little. 

Do not underestimate yourself.

You, Bethlehem Ephrathah may be the smallest town. You may feel small yourself. Do not underestimate yourself. 

In you, if I take the Christmas gospel seriously, I have to say that something big is growing in you.

God is growing in you, Bethlehem, Mary, human being. 

Human being, God is growing in you. 

Justice is growing in you. 

You don't have to keep your dreams so small. Everything good takes time. 

Do not be afraid. This is the first word that angels must say: to Mary, to Joseph, to the shepherds. 

God is growing in you, Bethlehem, Mary, human being. 

Human being, God is growing in you. 

You don't have to keep your dreams so small. Let them grow. Find friends. Get together, give each other support.

Practise the little honesty. Let justice grow wings and give peace hand and foot, your hand and your foot. So that heaven and earth come closer together. Like the child in the manger. God becomes a little child. 

That was not in vain back then in Bethlehem. That was for you. You are precious. You are worthy of God making himself very small for you. So that you are no longer afraid. 

There is a love letter in the manger. The angels sing a love song. And they mean you and me. 

Don't run away, don't make yourself small. God means you. 

Human being, I love you. 

Says God. 


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