1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 5Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! ~ Psalm 8:1-9
“What is man that you are mindful of him?” Thinking about Advent and Christmas, it’s easy to brush over the details. Of COURSE the son of God came, incarnate, to dwell among us. We were lost in sin, dead and desolate, and he came into the world to redeem us. Yet in the scope of creation, humanity seems like a tiny part. Our planet is a tiny blue dot orbiting another tiny dot in a vast sea of tiny dots, among yet more tiny dots that disappear into the distance. There are billions upon billions of stars and planets and galaxies in our universe. There are billions upon billions of molecules and atoms and electrons in a drop of water on the surface of the earth. So why are we significant? Amos 9:5 describes God as “The Lord GOD of hosts, he who touches the earth and it melts…” That’s big. Those words describe someone who is enormous. When Moses writes of creation, his account in Genesis explains how God spoke this vast universe into existence in relatively few words. My mind can’t begin to comprehend the virtually infinite complexity of the universe, let alone describe it with any eloquence or completeness. Yet, in Genesis, when we get to the creation of man, God used more than mere words. He formed Adam and Eve with his hands, and gave them, and us, work to do, dominion over the earth, and importance among all of creation. When I think about Advent, I am amazed by the “small” way God chose to came into the world, coming through a humble family in a humble town outside Jerusalem. His coming had eternal significance, but was anything but “big.” It’s in that very smallness, that heavenly condescension, that God connects with and pursues us. When I spend time with my kids, I am aware of their need for me as their parent. I am much bigger than they are. I am stronger, braver, and have a lot more experience than they do. But for all my relative “bigness”, I can only connect with them if I do so in small ways. The fact that I work in an office building and buy groceries and pay utility bills is important to them, but it’s not how they know me. They know me when I sit on the floor and play games with them, read stories to them, laugh at their silly jokes at the dinner table, bandage their wounds, pray with them, and listen to their hurts and fears and joys. Jesus came into the world so that he could redeem his rebellious creation, but he did it in the smallest, most beautiful way imaginable. He sat down on the floor with us, and let us know him, touch him, and be close to him. Maybe you’re a parent, or you were a kid at some point who had a parent or teacher or other mentor like this. Today as you reflect on Psalm 8, think about how big God is and what it means that he is mindful of us and came to be with us in such a big, small way.