O Holy Night
Recently, while listening to one of my favorite Christmas CDs, I was recaptured by the lyrics of a classic Christmas hymn. The lines declare:
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night, O holy night, O night divine!”
The Pining for Meaning
Our world is populated by people of every race, status, and age, all yearning to feel worth and value. Whether an orphaned, poverty-stricken child in Africa, a prostitute in Thailand, a military officer in Russia, or an executive on Wall Street – every soul is broken and in search of true significance.
Our rummaging leads us to all the wrong places. We try to find our worth in economic status, acceptance by peers, or a sense of special accomplishment. Inevitably we discover that net worth does not produce self-worth. Acceptance by friends does not equate to well-being within. Comparing favorably with others does not produce peace within ourselves. Truly, the sin that separates mankind from the love and forgiveness of God leads us to error in our search and we are left pining in pain and perplexity.
Net worth does not produce self-worth. Acceptance by friends does not equate to well-being within. Comparing favorably with others does not produce peace within ourselves.
The Appearance of Love
The world-changing appearance of divine love in the coming of Christ introduced the power and possibility of inner transformation. The love of Christ that passes all understanding compelled our Savior to leave the worship of angels amid the unimaginable glories of heaven to enter the quiet, vulnerable womb of a young Jewish girl, to eventually appear to our world in the humility of a manger.
This appearance led to a cross where the God-Man took upon Himself the sin of the world. God explained our worth and demonstrated His love in the sacrifice of His son. Even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
The Depth of Real Worth
In Christ, the soul finds and feels its worth. The redeemed soul was worth the life of the Son of God. Our worth is not achieved by an outside-in sense of affirmation or performance. Rather, it is accomplished by an inside-out work of redemption through the transforming grace of Christ.
Our worth is not achieved by an outside-in sense of affirmation or performance. Rather, it is accomplished by an inside-out work of redemption through the transforming grace of Christ.
We are loved, and thus valued, not because of what we have done but because of who He is and what He has demonstrated to be true about His choice of and love toward us. We can never be separated from the love of Christ by any circumstance around us or failure by us. We are loved and valued in Christ – period.
The Response of Gratitude
The songwriter captured the response that must also grip our own hearts at the thought. A weary world rejoices. A thrilling and enduring hope grips our hearts at the dawn of a new and glorious morning. Worth understood, assurance imparted, and meaning obtained.
Fall on your knees! Hear the angel voices crying out God’s glory and looking intently on the wonder of redeeming love. O holy night, when the truth of the soul’s worth was proclaimed. A holy God reclaims sinful, rebellious hearts through inconceivable mercy. They are declared worthy by His grace. Secure. Significant. Sealed for His purposes until the final day of redemption.
O holy night, when the truth of the soul’s worth was proclaimed. A holy God reclaims sinful, rebellious hearts through inconceivable mercy. They are declared worthy by His grace.
A Valuable Christmas
The true treasures of Christmas cannot be bought, wrapped, or given by any human being. They cannot be contained under a tree or captured in a grand holiday celebration. The real valuables of the season are human souls that have felt their worth in the coming of Jesus Christ.
Our appropriate appreciation of Christmas is to rejoice in the love and significance that allows us to even worship this month amid the scenes of the season. Several specific expressions seem needful:
- We can sing and celebrate with deepest gratitude as the overflow of our understanding of the worth of our life that was revealed in the gracious coming of Christ.
- We can affirm the worth of the souls of those the Lord has providentially brought into our lives. As we freely express the value He placed on them in His cross, we truly honor the work of Christ at Christmas.
- We can see and feel the brokenness of the human condition apart from Christ. Opportunities to share His good news, care for the needy, and love the unlovely all demonstrate the message that a soul can find its worth in Christ.
Opportunities to share His good news, care for the needy, and love the unlovely all demonstrate the message that a soul can find its worth in Christ.
We cannot help but thank our Lord Christ that in His coming and our submission to the call of His Gospel our soul has felt its worth. O holy night!
Copyright © 2019 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.