The Ninth Day of Christmas

Photo: Janet Peterson
Photo: Janet Peterson

The Ninth Day of Christmas and the second day of the New Year. Yep. Weird and not worth thinking about, in my humble opinion. Which brings me to my word for the New Year: humility.

My spiritual practice on New Year’s Day has been to select a word that serves as a character-building trait for the year. This year I let the Eternal Scheme Daily Word’s algorithm choose for me. My word for 2014 is Humility.

My sister, Saint Sam, and I were all selecting our words for the New Year together. My sister received her word, Dedication, and Saint Sam got Understanding. I got Humility. I hate to admit it, but my immediate response was to get another word, definitely an indicator that Humility is the perfect word for me for this year.

I hope you will go on over to Eternal Scheme and select your own word for the year. You can look up the information selected or created to illuminate the word – quote, scripture, prayer, and action – if you have the Daily Word ebook, or you can sign in to get the same information for free.

Here is what I will be pondering about Humility this year:

~ ~ ~

Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.

~ Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O.
(French-American Trappist monk, writer, and social activist, 1915-1968)

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Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit,
but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.

~ Philippians 2:3

◊ ◊ ◊


Great God, who has told us
“Vengeance is mine,”
save us from ourselves,
save us from the vengeance in our hearts
and the acid in our souls.

Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt,
to punish as we have been punished,
to terrorize as we have been terrorized.

Give us the strength it takes
to listen rather than to judge,
to trust rather than to fear,
to try again and again
to make peace even when peace eludes us.

We ask, O God, for the grace
to be our best selves.
We ask for the vision
to be builders of the human community
rather than its destroyers.
We ask for the humility as a people
to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples.

We ask for the love it takes
to bequeath to the children of the world to come
more than the failures of our own making.
We ask for the heart it takes
to care for all the peoples
of Afghanistan and Iraq, of Palestine and Israel
as well as for ourselves.

Give us the depth of soul, O God,
to constrain our might,
to resist the temptations of power
to refuse to attack the attackable,
to understand
that vengeance begets violence,
and to bring peace–not war–wherever we go.

For You, O God, have been merciful to us.
For You, O God, have been patient with us.
For You, O God, have been gracious to us.

And so may we be merciful
and patient
and gracious
and trusting
with these others whom you also love.

This we ask through Jesus,
the one without vengeance in his heart.
This we ask forever and ever. Amen.

~ Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B.
(American Benedictine nun, author, and speaker, b. 1936)

◊ ◊ ◊


Humility is a difficult trait for us prideful creatures to consider. While many consider humility a weakness, true humility is an admirable strength. It’s having a realistic view of one’s self, seeing ourselves as no better or no worse than anyone else. Who are humility role models for you? How can you practice more humility in your own life?

You might consider writing in a journal or sharing what you experienced.

~ ~ ~

I will be heeding my own advice and definitely be writing about my experience with Humility in my digital journal. Over the years I have gained great wisdom and insight from journaling. Journaling taps into and helps unlock our unconscious minds where all sorts of goodies reside.

On this Ninth Day of Christmas and second day of the New Year, I know another of God’s gifts to me will be using Humility in my personal and ongoing transformation. What about you? What is your word for the New Year?

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