Friday, December 14, 2012

Words of Advent: Humility

Day eleven of a daily meditation, a practice of free writing on words of Advent this season...

"The root word of humility is humus, earth;
to be human, too, comes from the same word."
~ Madeleine L' Engle

photo credit
I never associated humility with being of the earth.  But here I am, of the dust, and it makes so much sense to me, that these are two of the same.  Though we do not always remember our origins.

To be human is to be of dust and earth.

To think that Christ, who is of things uncreated and glorious and divine - of something entirely other than earth -  chose to squeeze all his God DNA into flesh and bone and dust. In humus, he became human.  He became one of us.

Humus, incarnation, glory.  I cannot think of Christ apart from these - these things that do not naturally go together.  One of his closest friends and disciples described the miracle in this way:

And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) 
and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; 
and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), 
such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, 
full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.

~ John 1:14 (Amplified version)

He chose to pitch his tent of flesh here, on this speck of earth.  He chose to experience what it's like to be fully human, when he could have done it another way.

And this is an intangible comfort, living here in the soiled beauty and in the horrors - of things that should not be, like the deaths of innocents at the hands of madmen - that Christ has been here, right here in the blood-stained earth.  That he still is.  That he came to redeem and transform what it means to be human.

Even as the earth reels and tears spill down for the lives that were lost this week and today, we can still say, all glory be to this humus Christ. 


  1. "To be human is to be of dust and earth." Yes. And when we see our frailty and our powerlessness, we are reminded in such a horrendous way of our origins, aren't we? These glorious and horrible specks that make up the us of us...that Jesus would choose to lay down his glory to live among all this -on days like this, that seems even more remarkable. My heart hears yours, friend. My pain and prayers join with yours today. I love you.

    1. Yes... how the horrendous does make Jesus' life here seem even more remarkable. I love you, too, Ashley.