And the soul felt its worth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
I’ve been mulling over these captivating words in my mind for days now, and still they do not cease to astound me. All I want is to keep turning them over and over in my mind. To sit with them and soak them up. Even to write a highly detailed literary analysis of them à la English class. (Not quite as romantic? Well, it is to this literature major. But I’ll spare you.)
He came to a world, a sinful and error-plagued world, that was pining for His coming. To think of the world, of humanity, just lying there, gives me great pause. But it was lying and pining. It was rendered lame by its evil, but it actively longed. It wondered and watched and waited. I love that the magi were led to Jesus by a bright star that illuminated the night. How fitting, no? A light in the darkness, one that required its humble viewers to crane their necks, to reach upward, to be drawn outside of themselves and propelled forward on a journey, buoyed by wondering hope in the destination.
He simply appeared. As a baby. Isn’t that just marvelous? He appeared in all simplicity and silence, devoid of the worldwide fanfare He truly merited. He was hidden for nine months, as any baby, His miraculous presence growing imperceptibly as the unsuspecting world waited indefinitely. Mary gave birth to Him, and cradled Him, and rocked Him to sleep. She was the first to catch a glimpse of her beloved newborn—and not just hers, but the world’s. He appeared to her, to Joseph, to the shepherds and magi, but He appeared, too, to all of humanity. He appeared on that night, and appears whenever sought, and will appear again.
And with His appearance, the soul felt its worth. There’s nothing like a sweet newborn to fill us with delight. But this is a newborn who came to prove to souls that they are worth everything to Him. Worth taking on our heavy flesh in great poverty. Worth coming to our side to shoulder our pain. Worth the unimaginable Passion that was to come. Do you feel that worth of yours? That remarkable, unearned, soul-deep worth? I know I forget it often. I forget it in my sin and error and missteps. But my great hope is that I never forget to pine for Him, that I always recall His blessed birth that brought about that of my own soul, that I ask for and welcome that feeling of infinite worth He has so graciously bestowed upon me.
This Christmas, my dear friend, I wish you great joy. I wish you the answer of all answers to your patterned pining. I wish you that treasured, miraculous feeling of your soul’s great worth. And let all within us praise His holy name.