Friday, December 21, 2012

What is Your Worth?

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people…The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.  Luke 2:29-32

Imagine Simeon, holding baby Jesus, ecstatic over the revelation that God had given him and the expression of that revelation in Jesus.  Can you imagine your response to seeing your salvation? (Luke 2:30)  Neither can I! At that moment, Simeon’s soul felt its worth.

One my all time favorite Christmas carols is “O Holy Night.” I was thinking about it again this year, and discovered the most stunning and disruptive line, “Long lay the world in sin and error pining, 'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”
I don’t know that this happens a great deal at Christmastime actually. You hear a Christmas carol, go view the Christmas lights on whatever street has the best ones, you see a manger scene in someone’s yard, your attention is turned for a moment to the nativity of Jesus – does it naturally follow in that moment that your soul feels its worth? And why not?

I offer you some thoughts from the blog of one of my favorite authors, John Eldridge to ponder today regarding this. Consider it my Christmas gift to you.

I think we celebrate Christmas in a vacuum. We do our best to turn our attention to Jesus. But I think we forget what his coming was for. Christmas is God coming to rescue us. It is an act of humility, love and sacrifice unparalleled in the history of the world. But the act does not take place in a vacuum. The act has a fierce intention to it, and the object of this act is you and me; the purpose is our rescue and restoration, to bring us back to God. Why have we lost sight of that?

Consider a simple daily kind of rescue. Your car battery is dead; you need a jump. But it’s late at night, and snowing. You call a friend, hating to bother them but in need of help. They jump out of bed and race to your aid. Doesn’t it help you to realize how much you matter to them? Or take the simple words, “I love you.” Doesn’t it do something to your soul to hear those words? You begin to realize how much you matter to the one who spoke them in love.

Something profound takes place in the soul of a person when they know they matter; when they know they are prized. It changes them. There is no longer any room for fear in the relationship. They know they are loved, and it evokes love in return. Someone who is recued has a deep and profound gratitude to the rescuer. “You would do this for me?”

Christmas is the most stunning rescue story of all time. Under cover of night, in a remote village in Palestine, in a world held captive by the dark prince, God comes to earth as a human being, a little boy. He invades the human race in order to rescue the human race. Satan is furious, he lashes out desperately to try and stop the invasion. The angels go to war. But God cannot be stopped. He will ransom and restore his beloved. The beauty of the act cannot be adequately expressed.  And what are we to think of the ones God would go to such lengths to rescue, and at such a price? How precious they must be. They must be worth a great deal to him. Inestimable worth. And that is why the soul felt its worth.

At least, that ought to be the effect of Christmas upon us. I think this will help us to celebrate Christmas for what it is – as a daring rescue. Not in a vacuum. In the context of love. I think it will allow us to be stunned at the way God goes about things. To fall in love again with his amazing heart. And to allow ourselves to experience some deep shift in our soul, as we come to feel our worth. We must really matter. We look at the manger. We see the angels, the wise men. We see the little boy. And then we boldly sing, “and the soul felt its worth.”
(excerpted from

My prayer for you this Christmas season is that you would truly feel your worth!  I look forward to celebrating with you both this Sunday and then on Christmas Eve at one (or more!) of our three Christmas Eve gatherings.  Don’t come alone.  Celebrating the birth of Jesus is just too good to keep to ourselves!

Merry Christmas, Beloved Church Family! I love being your pastor!