All things great are wound up with all things little.
(Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery)
Anne Shirley greeted me this morning with this little quote. I had written it down years ago and stumbled across it. As Montgomery has a way of doing, her words struck me as so simple, but so true.
At a time of year when the idea can sound cliche—”good things come in small packages”—the reality remains: the greatest things are often the littlest things. I thought of that this morning as I ate my grapefruit and sipped a cup of Earl Grey tea. Great things—and the greatest things—come to us as little, sometimes overlooked things. Pine needles on a great tree, a single little piece of pulp in a grapefruit, the stars that seem so small in the sky.
But greatness exists in more than these little tangible places of our days. All great virtues are wound up in all things little. A little act of kindness is a great act; a small moment of sacrifice contributes to great sacrifice; our little moments of love participate in the greatest Love.
Yesterday we got to see our little baby for the first time. It is magnificent and almost unbelievable to see this little person looking so cozy and enclosed in the womb—my womb. There is such intrinsic greatness wound up in this little miracle of life. I look at our baby’s picture and remember: for theirs is the Kingdom of God. Glory and greatness, wound up most clearly in the smallest of things.
And isn’t that just how this world works. Yes, God speaks in thunderstorm and wave, in lightning and fire; but He chose to speak most clearly in the little. In a humble girl whose little words of “yes” were in fact one of the greatest moments in salvation history. In a tiny baby, God become man, come to earth as one of the least of these. In the little moments of each day when He offers us greatness through the littlest things. In little babies and little flowers, in little snowflakes and little gestures.
All this little is truly wound up in the greatness of the world. It is this little greatness that we see everyday because of the incarnation; and it is this little greatness that we hope for as we await the coming of a child in a manger.