Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I've been thinking about humility this Christmas. It seems as I read the gospel story about the birth of Christ a lot of the human characters were humble persons. Think of Mary,  who said to the angel when he told her she was going to be the mother of Jesus, "who me?" and then "may it be to me as you have said." Even though we call her the virgin Mary and venerate her as the mother of Jesus, she did not think of herself as anyone especially deserving of this honor. Think of Zechariah, the priest, and father of John who was the forerunner of Jesus. He was just doing his priestly duties when the angel told him what Gods plans were for him and his family. Far from thinking he was someone special he couldn't even believe it! Think of John, his son, when people thought he was the Messiah he said, "I'm not even worthy to take off his sandals!" How's that for humility. Then, there were Simeon and Anna, the prophets who were waiting for a sign that the Messiah had come. They spent their days watching and waiting basically putting their lives on hold until they were sure God was coming. Think of Joseph, Mary's husband, taking a backseat to all that God had said to her. That gets at the meaning of humility, too.

Frederick Buechner in Wishful Thinking says true humility doesn't mean to think ill of yourself but not to think of yourself much differently from the way you'd be apt to think of anybody else. It's been pointed out that it's hard to be humble because just when you think you are humble you are proud of it. Being humble seems to be more like not thinking about yourself at all. Read Philippians 2:1-18. It may be the best commentary on humility in the Bible.