“For he has looked with favor on the lowly state of his servant.’”

Mary’s Magnificat, Luke 1:48 (NRSV)

Humility

In her world, Mary was indeed lowly. Her home in Galilee was disdained by Judeans and her match with a stone-and-wood worker placed her in the lower economic tier. As a Jew, she would have had little standing in Rome-occupied first-century Palestine. And as a woman, Mary had even fewer rights. Perhaps all these things were in her thoughts as she sang of her humble station.

Moreso must have been the scriptures that spoke of God’s posture towards the modest and commonplace. Job observed how the Lord lifts up the lowly. The Psalmist spoke of God’s regard for the weak and destitute, giving justice and maintaining right for those who had no one else. Most importantly, Proverbs lauded the lowly spirit. Those who choose to serve others receive God’s honor.

Years later, Jesus would speak so persuasively about the importance of lowliness, or humility, or meekness that all the apostles echoed the Lord’s teaching. The meekness Jesus expressed was not about timidity or enfeeblement, it was about courage and empowerment. It was about patience and generosity of spirit that did not seek first place. Paul described meekness as having the same mind as Christ, looking to the interests of those around us, and in humility regarding others as going before us in importance.

Christmas Carol

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way
with painful steps and slow,
look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
and hear the angels sing!

“It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” Edmund H. Sears (1810-1976)

Prayer

Lord, thank You for Your promise to hear the desire of the meek, to incline Your ear towards and strengthen the hearts of all who are meek. Thank You that the meek shall obtain fresh joy in You, inheriting the land and delighting in abundance.  (Psalm 10:17, 37:11, Isaiah 29:19)

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

Jesus’s Beatitudes, Matthew 5:5 (NRSV)
Mystic Nativity of Jesus | By Sandro Botticelli – National Gallery, London, Public Domain

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