Busy. Distracted. Tired. Frustrated. Fragmented. Aren’t those words that resonate with how we feel much of the time? Especially during this season of the year.
We long to recreate the Christmas traditions and memories of our childhood, but as we add yet another item to our to-do list, even making a single batch of cookies feels difficult. We yearn to bring Jesus into the central focus of the celebrations, but we as we talk to yet more relatives about when we will see them and what we will exchange as gifts, we feel ourselves pulled in directions we don’t want to go.
And in the midst of that, something happens that we didn’t anticipate. And even the little bit of control we are holding onto seems to slip away from our fingers.
We spend this Christmas season desperately trying to weave our expectations, feelings, and actions together into something beautiful. Instead, we often feel frayed and disjointed.
What can hold us together?
We tend to think of our souls as some sort of ethereal vapor that will float away when we die. But when the Bible talks about our souls, it seems to be speaking of something much deeper than that. Our souls are not a piece of us, they are the essence of us. They are the core identity of who we are. They are what weave our minds, emotions, and strengths together into our personhood.
Our souls are the integration of our pieces.
In the Christmas story, Mary talks about her soul. She talks about her soul after her life is interrupted by crazy major life-altering news. After she journeys for days to sees her cousin Elizabeth.
After she has time to ponder that being blessed and favored by God may mean being judged and questioned by people. After she has time to realize that carrying Immanuel within her may mean being abandoned by loved ones around her.
After she has time to see that her life is likely to get more and more fragmented.
Mary chooses to not let her soul get pulled apart by these possibilities. She instead focuses it on the one who can hold her together.
My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior - Luke 1:46b-47 (NIV)
Mary’s mind may be wondering about the possible future outcomes, but her soul is marveling at the Lord she serves.
Mary’s emotions may be anxious about problems that are looming large, but her soul is magnifying the Lord who is greater.
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior - Luke 1:46b-47 (ESV)
We can choose to do this, too. We can choose to take a step back from our minds and our emotions and lift our souls in praise to God.
There will still be events and people and expectations that pull our strings and threaten to unravel us. But the hands of the Lord are stronger.
As we turn our souls to the Lord in worship, He picks us up our pieces, and knits us back together.
Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! - Luke 1:46b-47 (NLT)
Wonder: Rediscover the Christmas Story is an Advent series designed to help us pause and reflect on how amazing the stories of Jesus’ birth really are. To break through the cluttered busyness of the season and touch our hearts with the awe of what God has done. Let’s make this a season of wonder and worship, marveling together at our great God.