A new week of Advent means a new carol! This is a difficult song to sing, and there are many beautiful versions out there. I used to love Josh Groban's version, though I haven't heard it in a while. Lauren Daigle also has a beautiful version.
O Holy Night was written as a poem in 1843, by Placide Cappeau, as part of a celebration for a restored organ. The poem was originally titled, "Minuit, Chretien, C'est l'heure Solenelle" (Midnight, Christian, is the solemn hour). It was put to music later that year by composer Adolphe Adam. The version we sing today was adapted by John Dwight. It became popular especially in the North United States due to the third verse!
'Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For He took notice of His lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call
For the Might One is holy,
and He has done great things for me.'" - Luke 1:46-49 NLT
"If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?" - Mark 8:34-37 NLT
The soul felt its worth. How did Jesus' arrival on earth accomplish this? Or is this just a poetical phrase thrown into this Christmas carol?
Have you ever felt that God has turned away or given up on you? The Israelites must have felt that way at times. They hadn't heard much from God in a long time. Then an angel visited a young, unmarried woman and brought astounding, scandalous news.
Mary must have had a lot of time to think about what all the strange things that were happening to her meant. Her beautiful song clearly tells us that she believed her baby was the promised salvation of her people. God hadn't forgotten His people. Mary saw, in her Spirit-inspired song, that God sees the lowly, the poor. Her soul must have felt its worth in this poignant moment. God saw her and her people. He had sent His salvation to earth, as a humble, human baby. Not born into a royal family, or even a wealthy family, but through a poor, young girl from a no-name town.
Our souls are worth Jesus enduring all the trials of humanity. Helplessness as a babe, growing pains, illness, puberty, loss, beauty, joy, anticipation, all of it Jesus went through FOR US. For our souls.
Jesus Himself says, "Is anything worth more than your soul?" This should stop us in our tracks. Our souls, the core of who we are, are highly valued and cherished by God. Each soul is. Your life is worth God sending His own Son into the world to save all people. Because God longs to be with us, not just in eternity ( though we await the second Advent of Christ!) but now. God longs for your heart!
But as Jesus states in the verses above, we so easily give up the abundant life God has to offer for the paltry offerings of the world. As C.S. Lewis says,
"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
God puts a much higher value on our souls than even we do. We are His beloved, His cherished ones, and yet we give our souls, our time, our attention away to whatever we think will fill us. We're so short-sighted! Apparently to Jesus, nothing, nothing is worth more than our souls, the essence of who we are, the only thing about us that can have unity with God. And yet we won't look up from our mud pies. If we were to look up and see the Father's hand outstretched, filled with infinite joy and abundance that He freely offers to us, then maybe we would truly know the depths of the love of God for each of us.
What has God done in your own life to make your soul feel its worth?
Where else in the Bible has God shown that He cherishes His creations, each human life?