One of my all-time favorite Christmas ornaments is really rather shoddily made. Very simple, humble even. My son, who is now 34, made it when he was a toddler. It's an imprint of his palm in a rough disc of plaster of Paris, painted gold with a little loop of green yarn embedded at the top so you can hang it on the tree. Of course I love it, despite its unpretentiousness. Because to me, in its simplicity and humility, it reflects the glory of life given by God.
In the Scriptures, we can see this same phenomenon of humility revealing glory.
In Micah 5, the prophet shares God's word to Bethlehem of Ephrathah, "one of the little clans of Judah"-unpretentious, simple, humble. And yet, God says,
"from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from old, from ancient days.... And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace."
From a little clan comes a mighty ruler, the "one of peace". Humility reveals glory.
And then in the exquisite song of Mary, the "Magnificat" in Luke 1, we witness God using a young woman who could serve as the very definition of humble. Something astonishing is happening to her-mind-boggling and faith-stretching. Can you even imagine what she must have thought about all this? Why has God chosen her?
Yet when God had called her, her immediate response to God was one of humble acceptance and determined obedience. And now, with her cousin Elizabeth, who blesses Mary and the fruit of her womb, Mary bursts into praise to God.
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant...."
Lowliness magnifies the Lord. Humility reveals glory.
This is a reality we all must wrestle with as we live in the reign of God. We may see our gifts as pitiful, our lives as little, our calling as lowly. But in God's eyes, nothing could be further from the truth.
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, spend some time these next few days considering what "little things" you might give, what simple gifts you might present, what humble service you might offer to God. And thereby magnify the Lord.
Humility reveals glory. Glory to God in the highest!
Lord of glory, open my eyes and my heart to the gifts and calling you've given me that I might share them eagerly, lovingly, and humbly with others-for your glory. Amen.