When I was a child, I remember my parents occasionally hosting a “Bridge” group some Saturday nights. When they would host this group, my sister and I would retreat to my parents’ bedroom where we would watch “Solid Gold” and “Hee Haw” on the 12 inch black and white television. As we would watch this TV, I never thought of it as small or poor quality, because it was all we had. However, when you compare that 1970’s era TV to the HD flat screen in my living room right now, it is easy to point out how much “better” today’s technology is.
A lot of descriptors we have in our language only gain their meaning by comparison. To a small child, I am tall, but not to the roster of the OKC Thunder. To my parents I am young, but not compared to the kids in Wildwood’s children’s ministry. Old/young, tall/short . . . these terms gain their meaning when they have a point of reference.
Let me ask you a question . . . a MACRO-LEVEL question: When it comes to your life, what is your point of reference? Honestly, I think that our point of reference for our lives can be centered in one of only 3 places:
- Our self
These are the options.
If your point of reference is yourself, then you determine your own reality. What is “needed” is what you want. What is “good” is what is “good for you at that moment.”
If your point of reference is “others” you allow another human or group of humans to define your world. If they say something is important, it is important. If they say something is right, it is right.
If your point of reference is God, then He is your vision. He determines right from wrong, truth from error, good from bad.
Here is what I have noticed, both in my life and in the lives of those I know. When our primary reference point in life is a person (us or someone else), “God” tends to be small in our lives. When God is our reference point, people tend to be small. To say it another way, when people are big, God is small, but when God is big, people are small. By this I don’t mean that people are not valuable, but I mean that when God is our reference point, we tend to not fear the reactions of men, but when people are our reference point, we tend to not fear the presence of God.
In Luke 1:46-56, Mary reveals her response to the news that she would be the mother of Jesus. Her response (called the Magnificat due to the Latin word for the first word of the “song” recorded here) shows that her reference point was God. In this song, she magnifies the Lord, thereby properly understanding that she is small . . . and so are the problems around her. Not small as in insignificant, but small compared to the greatness of our God.
And even though Jesus was still in utero at that point, measuring just a few inches in length, He stood tall over all because of who He was and what He would do for His people.
This Christmas we will spend a fair amount of time comparing ourselves to others. Are the gifts we are giving our kids too much or not enough? Are our holiday plans good or bad? Is this year’s celebration better than last? In the midst of these comparisons, spend a few moments magnifying the Lord using Mary’s example from her song. As we make the Lord our reference point, as He “becomes” big, we will find our problems small by comparison.
This devo is a part of the 2022 Wildwood Christmas Daily Devotional, “God with us.” You can find the entire Christmas Devotional here.