Earlier this year, the Queen of England met some soldiers that had returned from fighting in Afghanistan. While the soldiers all stood to attention, one Fijian soldier sat on the ground and lowered his head. Most of the people present failed to understand that this was a sign of respect in the Fijian culture. As with many traditional cultures, people show respect towards royalty by making themselves lower than the king or the queen.

This same concept has often been mentioned in the writings of Catholic Saints. If Christ is our king, how can we expect to stand above him, or demand more respect than he received. As St Bernard of Clairvaux once said, “as members of that head, crowned with thorns, we should be ashamed to live in luxury; his purple robes are a mockery rather than an honour”.

As we prepare for Christ to come among us as a child, so humble and small, perhaps we need to question whether we need to humble ourselves so that our life shows true honour and respect to our king.