When we look at the story of Christmas, there are many different players in this drama that we could describe as humble. Today's Gospel (Luke 2:16-21) speaks of the shepherds who visited the Christ child and relayed the message of the angels. We are told that "All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds." I wonder if they were more amazed by the message or the messengers, since shepherds were not considered to be very important people. Imagine the fear and trepidation they must have felt, being entrusted with such a message. Yet they accomplished what God asked of them, and to this day we cannot think of the story of the birth of Christ without shepherds.
Mary, too, showed great humility throughout. From the moment the angel first announced God's plan to her, she accepted that she would play a major part in the events that would unfold. And to be entrusted with teaching God Himself how to live as a human being, how to walk, talk, relate to others, etc. This must have been truly humbling for her. Joseph, too, showed great humility, putting his plans aside to follow the will of God and help raise His Son, treating Him as his own.
I believe, however, that the one who showed the most humility was God Himself. The King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Mighty God and Prince of Peace decided to put aside all of the power and glory that was His right and experience life as a human being. In doing so He would need to learn all that any other human child has to learn from parents and others. The created teaching the Creator. And in doing so, He elevated the status of every human being, embracing us as His brothers and sisters.
As we begin 2011, I hope that we too can embrace the will of God with great humility, following the examples of these participants in the Incarnation miracle. If we are able to do so, I believe that we can hope to end this year a little closer to God, and much more the person God wants us to be.
Happy New Year everyone, and Merry Christmas - still!