Daily Reflection – 12/23/19
Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him. (Luke 1:57-66)
The Church does not celebrate the birthday of the saints, except that of Jesus’ mother. Generally, their special day in the calendar is the date of their death.But there is one notable exception. Since we celebrate the birthday of the Word, we also celebrate the birthday of the Voice. We’re referring to Jesus’ cousin of course, John the Baptist, the Voice crying out in the wilderness.
John plays a unique role in the history of salvation. We call him the Baptist. Eastern Christians call him the Forerunner. Only Luke’s gospel tells us of the marvelous circumstances surrounding his birth. But each of the four gospels tells us of his essential work in preparing the way for Jesus. But they also tell us something further – that John was a model of the key virtue of humility extolled by the first Beatitude of the Sermon on the Mount – Blessed are the Poor in Spirit.
In fact, he shows us the true nature of this virtue. Humility is not beating up on yourself, denying that you have any gifts, talents, or importance. The humble man does not sheepishly look down on himself. Actually, he does not look at himself at all. He looks away from himself to the Lord.
At one time or another, every human being battles a nagging sense inadequacy. Pride is sin’s approach to dealing with this. Proud people are preoccupied with self, seeing all others as competitors.
Humility brings freedom from this frantic bondage. Trying at every turn to affirm, exalt, and protect oneself is an exhausting enterprise. Receiving one’s dignity and self-worth as a gift from God relieves us from this stressful burden. Freed from the blinding compulsion to dominate, we can feel a sense of satisfaction when others recognize that God is God and honor him as such. We can even be free to recognize God in someone else and rejoice when others notice and honor God’s goodness this person.
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, you are gracious and forgiving towards us. Renew in me the gift of faith and humility that I may believe your promises and obey your word.
When God acts to save us he graciously fills us with his Holy Spirit and makes our faith come “alive” to his promises. When we respond to his word with trust the Lord fills us with the joy of the Holy Spirit and renews our hope and gratitude for the mercy and gift of new life and salvation he gives us through Jesus Christ. Do you make your life an offering of thanksgiving to God, along with your family and all that you have and hope to accomplish? God wants to fill us with the joy of his saving presence all the days of our lives, from birth through death. Renew the offering of your life to God and give him thanks for his mercy and favor towards you.