Like any good Christian girl, I have heard the refrain often: As God’s people we are to clothe ourselves in humility, meekness, compassion, kindness, and patience. I have said I wanted to do this, but it soon became clear that my heart and the hearts of others were oriented in a different direction. Often I heard fearful whispers that our culture was growing more godless, that the church was losing the battle, that we had to fight for our rights to our religion and ways of being in the world.

I realized that many of my fellow Christians wanted to be in power—to use it for good, of course. We wanted influence because we wanted to spread the love of God. Did Jesus do this? Or did he come in the meekest way possible? Didn’t he have to constantly subvert those around him who wished that he would take power with force and enact God’s will on everyone?

Jesus came clothed in meekness and humility—born to people who were poor, revealed first not to kings but to poor shepherds. Jesus relied on the compassion, kindness, and patience of others around him as he grew. And when I look at the Gospels, I see Jesus leaving a trail of confused religious folks in his wake, people who longed to be good but who found themselves deeply disturbed at the good news of this wandering prophet who called God his very dear Father. I see a death on a cross, a crucifixion by an empire, that does not look very peaceful at all.

Jesus did not stay the meek and mild baby in a manger that we often see this time of year. But as he grew up he still embodied the hallmarks of the kingdom of God, which included subverting the norms of power and influence and religiously inspired hierarchies. Jesus brought a peace which ended up getting him killed. It’s a sobering thought today, as it was for those in the early church.

God, as we seek to be meek like your Son, help us learn to relinquish the values we have been taught to love: power, influence, respect, and money. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 2:41-52

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Lectionary Week
December 20–26, 2021
Scripture Overview

The boy Samuel worshiped and served God from a young age. He grows in stature and favor, the same description that will later be applied to the young Jesus in this week’s reading from Luke. The psalmist praises God for raising up a “horn” for the people. This “horn” is referred to elsewhere in the Psalms as being the True King from the line of David, identified later by Luke (1:69) as Jesus. Paul encourages the Colossians to let love rule in their community and to praise God with songs and hymns (such as the Psalms). The additional readings for this special week focus our minds on the Advent of the Lord, the amazing truth that “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14), as the prophets had prophesied long ago.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Isaiah 9:2-7. Where in your world do you see darkness? What lies within your power to dispel it?
Read Psalm 148. How do you experience God’s creations worshiping and praising God? How do you join in that worship?
Read Colossians 3:12-17. How are you clothing yourself with love during this season?
Read Luke 2:1-20. In what ways do you hold and ponder the story of Christ’s birth in your heart?

Respond by posting a prayer.