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  • Writer's pictureFr. Scott Haynes

The Humble and the Wise

Rev. Scott A. Haynes

In the year 1809 Napoleon and his armies were at the height of their power and they seemed destined to rule the world. Napoleon’s battles and victories made newspaper headlines everywhere. But something else took place in 1809 that never made newspaper headlines and very few people noticed. In that same year, 1809, babies were born. The birth of a newborn child is so wonderful because with their whole lives ahead of them, they have great potential. We never know who they might grow up to be and what good they might be able to do.

In 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born, the man who led America out of legalized slavery. In 1809, William Gladstone was born and history proved him to be one of the brightest statesmen of the British empire. In 1809, the famous writers Alfred Tennyson, Edgar Allen Poe, and Oliver Wendell Holmes were born. Of course, as we look back at that year, 1809, the world paid no attention to the birth of these children. They were unimportant and inconsequential. In 1809, Napoleon was the one everyone was paying attention to. He was the important one. He was powerful. Those babies were weak, even helpless. Yet only 6 years later, in 1815, Napoleon the powerful had to surrender to the British at Waterloo. That was the scenario in 1809.

Today little has changed. People today pay attention to the powerful too. Just as people trembled at the sound of Napoleon’s troops, so today people tremble at the thought of our modern Napoleons, whoever they may be. But I want to ask a question. Who has been born in this calendar year? Perhaps in a few decades these babies might grow up to be men and women who will make a positive difference on the world.

Two thousand years ago, when the armies of Caesar marched across Europe – the earth trembled. People paid attention to the Roman Empire. It demanded their attention! No one thought that the really important events of that time were taking place in the quiet and forgotten hills of Judea. Yet, in sleepy Bethlehem, a Virgin would give birth to a child and name Him Jesus.

Yet two classes of people were able to discern the importance of Christ’s birth—the humble and the wise. The lowly shepherds and the wise men of the Orient were at Bethlehem’s manger. Just as Mary waited for the birth of Christ, today we wait for the Savior of the world to be reborn in the minds and in the hearts of those who do not yet know the Little King of Bethlehem. We pray that Jesus, who is the Wisdom from on High, will enlighten our minds with truth, and that He, who is meek and humble of heart, will make our hearts humble like His.


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