Christ’s coming to earth, taking on human flesh and living among us, leads a soul to feel its worth. Weary souls rejoice because Christ was born to be our friend through our trials. Souls are thrilled with hope because the sin and error can be redeemed. This is the message in the lyrics of O Holy Night. They proclaim the spiritual transformation of Advent on the soul.
Are the burdens of life the reason for your soul’s anguish? Does your soul demand to be loved, honored and cherished, yet receive so much less than what it was created to enjoy? My soul demands to be accepted, yet it receives condemnation, loved yet it is despised, valued though it is detested. In the fallen world in which I live, I receive contempt from the most unlikely of relationships. My soul cries out against this treatment. My soul detests these insults that it is no power to defend. Then Christ was born and the soul’s worth is restored.
The birth of Christ resonates with my soul. The God of the universe coming to earth in the form of human flesh, so perfect and so helpless, nurtures the longings of my soul. The Christ child signals my soul’s worth. Though my soul is wracked with sin and error, it still longs for holiness within and holiness in relationships with others. As Christmas nears, is your weary soul rejoicing? Are you aware of becoming more hopeful in the struggles you face each day?
The words of Jesus are the hope of all souls. Matthew 10: 29-31:
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Advent transforms the soul through hope. When Christ was born, the soul received a Savior to cry its heart out. What brings the soul to tears now raises the soul to purpose. When Christ bears your burden, He reveals how it can bring about transformation. Jesus comes to comfort souls who weep and show them how to bear the cross of sorrow. He gives the strength to pick up the cross and hang on to the cross until the victory is experienced. He did this after His own soul’s tears. In John 11:35 we read that Jesus wept. His own soul was deeply moved by the reality of the horror of not just physical death, but eternal death—separation from God. This would have been the plight of Lazarus, who had died. Jesus’ tears spurred Him forward on His journey to defeat death by His own death. Soon after, He literally picked up His cross, hung on it, and overcame death through His own death on the cross.
In Advent, we examine the tears from our souls. We weep them into the arms of Jesus until we discover that He has a purpose for those tears. We become transformed, willing to accept the hurt, rejection, pain so that we can be like Christ—conquering all discomfort through picking up, hanging on and experiencing victory on the cross. In this way we are prepared to meet Jesus face to face when He returns. This is the spiritual work of Advent—preparing souls to meet Jesus.