The miracle of Christmas began with a humble birth—Jesus Christ, the Lord, Savior, and Redeemer of the world, was not born in a palace. His parents were not of significant wealth or fame. And while his birth was foretold by prophets of old, the leaders of the time paid no tribute to this prophecy. The day of His birth was simply another day in Bethlehem for so many—but not for all. Those of humble circumstances had eyes to see. And those of humble hearts and minds today still have eyes to see, and wisdom to worship Him for all He is, all He has done, and all He promises to make right again.
Be Thou Humble
It isn’t a Christmas carol, but the lyrics to a hymn, but “Be Thou Humble” by Grietje Terburg Rowley may as well be considered as such when read in the light of the humble circumstances of Christ’s birth, life, sacrifice, and redemption. Let’s take another look at it, but with a special emphasis on Christmas.
Christ Came to Us in Weakness
Be thou humble in thy weakness, and the Lord thy God shall lead thee,
Shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answer to thy prayers.
He was a fragile infant, born without the comforts of clean conditions or medical care. His first home was a stable, his first bed a feeding trough. I’ve always wondered why no one had a big enough heart to let Mary, who was great with child, have a clean room for the night. If the townspeople in Bethlehem knew who Mary and Joseph were—if they knew who the child was that Mary was carrying—they would have made room for them with open arms. But they did not know.
Perhaps the reason no one gave them a room is not so much that of ignorance as it was that it was part of the plan—an example set forth by our Heavenly Father to show the world the humility of our Savior. If the Son of God, the great Redeemer of all mankind, could come into the world without pomp and pageantry, maybe this is an example of how we should approach our own circumstances of life each and every day. Do we wake up each day with a humble heart, or do we expect the world to make way for our glorious presence? Do we have a grateful enough heart to recognize our worth, and yet a humble enough heart to resist flaunting it?
Our Savior Pleaded to His Father
Be thou humble in thy pleading and the Lord thy God shall bless thee,
Shall bless thee with a sweet and calm assurance that he cares.
When Christ first began His mission, He fasted and prayed for forty days for strength to endure. I’m sure His prayers were not simply rote verbiage, but genuine pleading to his Heavenly Father. Do we follow this humble example? Are our prayers pleading? Do we communicate with our Father as a father who loves and cares for us, who answers us—or do we forget to ponder and receive the answers He is willing to give? I’ve wavered in prayer many times in life, sometimes being diligent, while other times missing the mark. But no matter how far I’ve wandered from my spiritual path, my Father in Heaven has been there for me when I humbled myself enough to return.
Christ Served with Humility
Be thou humble in thy calling and the Lord thy God shall teach thee
To serve his children gladly with a pure and gentle love.
This verse is the epitome of Christ’s love in His ministry. He adored us enough to be the one strong enough to resist sin and brave enough to endure the suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. His calling was to save mankind—and He did so, willingly and thoroughly. In our humility, we should thank Him every day for this wondrous feat. But do we if we are not humble in our individual callings in life? Are we willing to serve with humility, or is it too difficult for us to get past our own pride, struggles, or pain?
Whatever your circumstances—sickness or health, poverty or wealth—nothing we endure in this life can compare to what our Savior had to endure. I know there are many who are forced to endure excruciating pain and sorrow, sometimes for a lifetime, and I don’t mean to minimize these circumstances. But if we remember our life is but a small moment in the eternal nature of time, we will be able to see more clearly—our pain is temporary, and our joy will be eternal. This was made possible because Christ fulfilled His calling. So with this perspective, can we soften our hearts to serve others with kindness and in all humility? Christ can be our constant reminder that yes, this is possible, each and every day.
Be thou humble in they longing and the Lord thy God shall take thee,
Shall take thee home at last to ever dwell with him above.
To Be Long-Suffering is to Be as Christ Was
In today’s world, there are so many social issues tugging at the heart of men, vying for our attention, ripping families apart, putting to task our ability to remain humble. The world is experiencing a spiritual holocaust where even the faithful are pitted against each other and hearts once tender are scarred and bitter. I think of how volatile the atmosphere was during the last days of Christ’s life leading to His crucifixion, and I fear the same frenzied mentality is being played out again, as we so often seem compelled to repeat history.
The answer to joy in this life and being our best, most humble selves has always been the same—trust in the Savior Jesus Christ. Trust His example of humility. Be thou humble, as He was, and you will be blessed with protection now and eternal rewards in the life to come.
This holiday season, remember the humble birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Remember His humble life, and His willingness to lay it down for the salvation of us all. Allow His humility to be your guide in the choices you make. His humble life opened the door to eternal life. Only following this pattern humbly will lead us to the same eternal reward.
This post was originally published in December 2015. Minor changes have been made.
Nanette O'Neal loves the gospel and is very happy to share her testimony on LDS Blogs. She is a convert to the church and still feels the spirit burn strong within her heart. She graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts with a degree in music education and has taught children and adults in the private and public sphere for over twenty years. Nanette continues to study the gospel and the art of writing. She writes weekly inspirational articles on her blog and is currently working on an LDS fantasy novel series, A Doorway Back to Forever. You can find her at NanetteONeal.blogspot.com. Nanette has a wonderful husband, talented son, and three beautiful dogs.