This year for Advent, we're thinking about how most persons in the world don't really think they need Jesus to be everything; they just need Him to be one thing - whatever that one thing is that they most need in their lives. We spent the first week talking about the physical needs that persons brought to Jesus. Last week, we talked about the spiritual needs that persons brought to Jesus. This week, as we lead up to Christmas itself, we're going to talk about the soul needs that we bring to Jesus.
We are ensouled bodies and embodied souls. There is something about the essence of who we are that is connected to a deeper thread than we can really put words to. Because God breathed His very breath into us, there is something about our nature that yearns and aches for Him in a way that's hard to describe until we have found it.
These are the aches of our souls.
Thankfully, Jesus answers them, too.
One of the things that we ache for in our souls is peace. And it's especially easy this time of year to find ourselves craving it even more than usual. We think it's because the hustle and bustle of the season just gets to us - there's so much to do, so much to prepare, so many places to go, persons to see, presents to wrap, decorations to hang, cookies to bake, hams to glaze, etc., etc., etc. until it feels like at just this time when we're coming to a so-called silent night, our world is noisier and busier and more demanding than it's ever been.
And we just want to breathe for a moment.
We just want to stop. We just want to slow down. We just want to stop having to worry about everything. We just want to settle into the season, just for a couple of minutes. We want to find rest.
What's heartbreaking is how many of us still think we will find peace in the inn - in the busy places, when everything is finally ready and we get to sit down in the midst of all the things we've been preparing for days or weeks or months now. But we know that never works. As soon as you sit down on Christmas, there's something to get up for, something else to do, something to check on, something to make sure about. There's no peace in the inn.
The peace is in the manger.
It's in the place removed from the busyness, where the light of heaven itself shine through the cracks in the windows. It's in the place where the oxen feed on hay and the donkeys lay down and the animals teach us how to just do our thing. It's where the most natural of all things are happening, including the birth of a simple baby boy who starts crying out in the midst of the silent night, and suddenly, everything stops and all you can hear is that little, tiny voice...