Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Meekness Will Receive Him'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Meekness Will Receive Him'

Article excerpt

When it came to Christmas, meekness was never high on my list. Maybe I'd thought about it in relation to the Christmas story - the baby Jesus, born in the humblest of circumstances. But as for the qualities I thought about expressing during the holiday season, I guess I was more focused on love and joy and generosity.

Until this year, when I figured out what I'd been missing.

I was sorting through my Christmas music, trying to figure out what might work for a couple of holiday gigs I had on the calendar. That's when the meekness thing hit me. Because I read these words from the last verse of one of my Christmas favorites, "O Little Town of Bethlehem":

No ear may hear his coming,

But in this world of sin,

Where meekness will receive him, still

The dear Christ enters in.

(Phillips Brooks, "Christian Science Hymnal," No. 222)

I'd sung the hymn dozens of times, but I'd never paid attention to its message of meekness. Yet, what it said to me this year was that meekness was central to Christmas because only great humility could usher in such a pure message of love and salvation. It said that meekness had allowed the wise men and shepherds to respond to the light that led them to the Christ.

And it reminded me that participating in Christmas - yes, even 2,000 years later - requires a humble willingness to hear what God is saying. Especially in those moments when what God is saying seems difficult to believe because the circumstances in which we find ourselves offer a direct contradiction.

To me, Jesus' life exemplified this kind of humble listening. It didn't matter what came his way - a terrible storm, an angry mob, a woman who'd been gravely ill for most of her life. Jesus never seemed impressed or overwhelmed by what he encountered. In fact, his conviction of God's love for each of His children helped everyone feel the presence of the Christ. …

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