The Door of Humility
by David Morrison
When pilgrims enter the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, they must stoop low to enter the Door of Humility. It is an unintentional invitation to enter into the humility of God. Although God is almighty and all powerful, his humility is a chief attribute of his person and is absolutely genuine and authentic. God’s humility is represented in both Jesus’ Incarnation (God becoming man) as well as His dominant manifestation for all eternity (as referenced throughout the book of Revelation), as the “lamb of God who was slain before the foundations of the world.” Christmas is not just a commemoration of our Lord’s birth, but a profound and personal experiencing of the great “Emmanuel” (God-with-us) mystery. Just as the glory of Jesus’ birth was hidden from the “important” people of the day, so often is the Spirit’s movement in our contemporary world. We must resolve to have open and humble hearts to the almost “background” workings of God in both the world and even in our own lives. One way we can enter into the humility of God is by consciously giving up the inner struggle to be “important and noticed.” Henri Nouwen, in his book, Letters to Marc About Jesus: Living a Spiritual Life in a Material World, says it best:
Whereas the way of the world is to insist on publicity, celebrity, popularity, and getting maximum exposure, God prefers to work in secret…. In God’s sight, the things that really matter seldom take place in public. It’s quite possible that the reasons why God sustains our violent and homicidal world and continues giving us new opportunities for conversion will always remain unknown to us. Maybe while we focus our whole attention on the VIPs and their movements…it’s the totally unknown people, praying and working in silence, who make God save us yet again from destruction.
Thus, the Christmas season is a time to reflect on the incredible reality that God would step out of eternity and enter into time in the most tangible way possible—by becoming a human infant born in the most common and humble of circumstances. Let’s join the chant of the ancient song, and proclaim,
For Christ is born now to raise the image that had fallen aforetime.
Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One,
And the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One!
Angels with shepherds glorify Him!
The wise men journey with a star!
Since for our sake the Eternal God was born as a Little Child!
(from The Kontakion for Christmas, Roman the Melodist)