Christmas: Can You Feel Your Soul’s Worth?
The words from the popular Christmas song O Holy Night, boldly proclaim:
…He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
This short phrase reveals the answer beneath the question of why God chose to come to earth as a human being: to convince us of the immeasurable worth of our souls.
The Christmas plot is filled with soap opera drama. The story is epic, almost unbelievable to our human minds:
A teenage virgin gets pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
Her future spouse scratches his head in disbelief.
Their families stand speechless, stunned and shamed by the scandal of Mary and Joseph’s predicament.
Mary scurries off to her cousin Elizabeth, hiding, trying to figure out what she should do next.
Joseph hears God telling him in a dream not to divorce Mary.
And with faith’s guidance, both Mary and Joseph come to believe what their human minds could not comprehend: they were to parent a child who was destined to become the God-man who would show us how to love and be loved.
Perhaps the only way Mary and Joseph could understand and trust that God was directing their lives was through the quiet of their souls. Getting away from the din of the world to hear the inner voice of love in silence.
The script God wrote, the story he revealed to us, is larger than life. The best writers in Hollywood couldn’t come close to writing such a heroic story. But God did, so we could experience the vastness of our souls; God’s respect for the dignity with which God created you and me.
It’s as if God, the artist, became the art that God created. The painter became the canvas, the work that he fashioned.
In short, God became human just like you and me, so that we can become divine just like God.
And yet, we still doubt our self worth.
In fact, our doubt—those noisy roommates in our heads that tell us we’re no good— often become the greatest obstacle to our relationship with God and each other.
And why? Where do those self-condemning words come from? Words like: you’re no good. You’re a failure. God’s out to get you.
Sometimes they come from our religious traditions that would have us focus too heavily on our sinfulness, our unworthiness, instead of balancing our need for humility with the inner truth of the beauty God has placed within us through our souls.
Often our self-condemnation comes through other people: parents, spouses, partners, co-workers who’ve told us through their words or actions, we’re no good. You’re a failure. You can’t do anything right.
The onslaught of consumerism also jabs us with negative self-image messages through its endless barrage of TV and magazine ads shimmering with bronzed airbrushed models whose perfect bodies none of us can attain, unless of course we buy their products.
And 24-Hour News joins the chorus rubbing our noses into man’s inhumanity to man through its constant bombardment of over sensationalized evil allegedly overcoming good.
Whatever the source of our self-doubt, most of us walk through daily life with a nagging thought, the Winnie-the-Pooh EOR voice that says, “I’m not any good.”
If we could somehow get past that self-doubt, would we be freed to experience God’s love more deeply, so that as God’s love pours into our souls and we receive that love—feel our self-worth—it then flows out of our lives into unconditional love for others? The way the God-of-love planned it all along.
If so, how do we get there? How do we get to a place inside of ourselves where we feel our soul’s worth?
The answer is simple, according to Richard Rohr: “a re-appreciation for this wonderful, but seemingly harmless, thing called silence.”
Taking a few minutes at the beginning of each day to sit in the Quiet.
Reconnecting with our soul. Letting our soul speak to us. Speak in us.
Decades ago, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher bulls eyed the source of human discontent with a simple insight:
All human evil comes from this: our inability to sit still in a chair for half an hour.
Could it be that simple? Could all the violence in our world, the hatred, anger, and disrespect come from our inability to sit still, to sit in silence, and simply feel the worth of our souls?
Perhaps it is that simple. We do have the ability to change the world and ourselves by entering into the silence, taking time each day to remember we are loved, and in doing so, we then become God’s prayer of love flowing into the world, undaunted by the evil we encounter.
Beyond the scream: I can’t breathe, lies perhaps a deeper proclamation: I can’t hear. The noise in and around us is too loud. Life’s chaos and clamor are drowning out the quiet voice of our souls—the inner voice of love. A voice we can only hear in the silence.
And so like Mary, Joseph, and the God-man Jesus, perhaps the proper response to the blare of the world is to find daily refuge in silence. To seek the simplicity of stillness so we might experience the depth of our soul’s worth.
Perhaps that is the greatest gift of Christmas: our souls feeling, experiencing, embracing God’s endless worth within us.
How do I experience silence?
Can I give myself the gift of Quiet each day, trusting it will help me feel the worth of my soul…the worth of all souls?
How might silence change the world one soul at a time?