On Christmas Day, I watched Queen Elizabeth’s annual Christmas speech. She began noting the fiftieth anniversary of the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon and the first steps taken on its surface. As she noted, “It’s a reminder for us all that giant leaps often start with small steps.”
The Queen’s address eventually transitioned all of this to the birth of Jesus:
“Of course, at the heart of the Christmas story lies the birth of a child: a seemingly small and insignificant step overlooked by many in Bethlehem. But in time, through his teaching and by his example, Jesus Christ would show the world how small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding. Many of us already try to follow in his footsteps. The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.”
There may be times when steps seem big to all of us. Reworking our bylaws and governance may seem like big steps. Even restoring Heritage Hall appears as one a huge step. But like everything in the past, the large projects and acts were just a number of small steps placed next to one another.
Remember - there have been seemingly-big steps in the life of this congregation, like when you were hiring new pastors and when you were building the Welcome Center or Activity Center. But even when you were going through major changes within this congregation, small steps helped you as individuals and the congregation as a whole embrace a new era.
The Queen’s speech reminded me that even a big movement like the Jesus Movement started with smaller steps. We may think of the birth of Jesus as a huge event, but like every other birth, it was still just a birth. We may think healings were huge events, but in reality, they were small, caring interactions between Jesus and the person he had just met.
Small steps help us to understand one another better and to move past our anxieties. Small steps help us to figure out how to fix problems in our communities and help us to heal in ways we didn’t think were possible. Small steps allow us to take something completely overwhelming and handle confidently in smaller bites. When we take one step to the next, what we must remember is the grace that God has given to us and the grace we must extend to one another.
There are many things on the horizon that I am looking forward to in 2020: the completion of the Heritage Hall restoration project, the beginning of a new Confirmation Class, the creation of a new non-traditional service and more. In my own personal life, I am excited about my own huge step: my summer wedding and new marriage. With all of these wonderful new plans in the works, I know that small steps will help us transform the unknown into the known, will help us embrace new calls by God, and will help us create a world of hope and love.
Blessings on a healthy and happy 2020!