Thinking outside the Dox

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People wise to the ways of the world-wide-web know what it means to dox someone. Doxing is posting private and damaging documentation about an enemy. So, a newbie 21st Century student of language might surmise that doxology is the study of that vile act. But no. Sunday’s second reading is a doxology—a “liturgical formula of praise to God”—pasted to the end of Paul’s letter to the Romans:

To him who can strengthen you … to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be glory forever and ever. (Rom 16:25-27)

“Forever” is what both connotations of dox have in common. Online documents used as slander seem to have no expiration date. But, thank God, neither does the reign of the One whose earthly birth we’re ready to celebrate—the One who was born to save us from worldly cares that were birthed by the pride and vanity making us so vulnerable to mutual doxing.

In this Sunday’s gospel reading from Luke (Lk 1:26-38), that Savior’s mother exemplifies the attitude of service her holy family would live as an eternal legacy for all future families to model. The angel tells Mary, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

How does she respond?

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

A handmaid is a lowly servant. Today that word would be a good way to dox someone in front of their colleagues, implying they’re unworthy of an important job entrusted to them. But Christmas teaches us to adopt a spirit of doxology: praise not only for God, but for the gift of adoption we all receive as brothers and sisters of the One whose birth we celebrate. This One’s heavenly Father bequeathed the following doxology to the earthly King (David) whose bloodline would flow to the only human ever worthy of that royal title (you know who):

“I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.” (2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16)

In an era when spouting Biblical doxologies in public forums (outside of Christmas and Easter) is seen as a lowly occupation worthy of doxing, this non-Biblical dox is for you:

May this last day of Advent lead you to the first day of the rest of your eternal life.

–Tom Andel


  1. Our challenge in these days is to think far less about ourselves and to spend time contemplating what took place in Bethlehem.

    We become so self-absorbed, we lack the vision and desire to grasp the significance of the birth of the creator, AND Savior of the world, and what our role is in this ultimate drama.

    Why am I here? Who sent me? Where am I going?

    My wish is that we can all discover in our hearts the true meaning of Christmas!!

    • Mary taught us the true meaning of Christmas via the gift she gave us. Our thank-you should echo hers. It was given to God via her magnificent Magnificat:

      My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
      my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
      for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
      From this day all generations will call me blessed:
      the Almighty has done great things for me,
      and holy is his Name.

      He has mercy on those who fear him
      in every generation.
      He has shown the strength of his arm,
      he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

      He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
      and has lifted up the lowly.
      He has filled the hungry with good things,
      and the rich he has sent away empty.

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