Dean of Students
“Long lay the world,
in sin and error pining,
Till he appeared,
and the soul felt its worth.”
The world we inhabit, expanding outward into the furthest reaches of the universe and expanding inward into the darkest corners of our souls, is fractured. It is captive to sin, death, and error. All things physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, visible, and invisible are spiraling out of control.
“Till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.”
The events surrounding the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus of Nazareth shattered the old world that was spiraling in sin and error, and offers us a new world and a new heart.
Consider the words of St. Paul in Galatians 6:
“For me boasting is excluded, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the cosmos has been crucified to me and I to the cosmos. For neither is circumcision anything nor is uncircumcision anything. What is something is the new creation.”
The old world of sin and death has been crucified in the cross of Christ. What matters now is the new creation.
New Creation is here. The soul feels its worth.
But as soon as we say those words, we notice something odd. New Creation is not here. Our world and our hearts are still, at times, spiraling in sin and error. It certainly appears as though New Creation is not here, and our souls do not feel their worth.
New Creation is here, and it is not here yet.
Our souls feel their worth, and they do not feel their worth yet.
And all of this is what we think about during Advent. This is the song that we sing. Christ has come, and Christ will come again. We relive the anticipation felt by the ancient Hebrews in the centuries leading up to the coming of Jesus the Messiah. We spend time in the Prophets, and listening to John the Baptist preach repentance as the way of preparing for Jesus. We wait, with ancient Israel, for our Messiah. But in our reliving of this anticipation, we also truly anticipate ourselves. We, like the Hebrews, have crossed through the Red Sea and into our salvation. We, like the Hebrews, celebrate Christ our Passover lamb in the Lord’s Supper. And we, like the Hebrews, are anticipating a day when the good King returns to set things completely right.
Advent is for everyone. Its message is one that we all need to hear. But for those of us in the academic world, I think Advent has something special to offer us, especially during this time of year when grades are being earned and given, celebrated and lamented.
Advent helps the soul feel its worth.
Our world is full of claims about what gives us worth, what makes us valuable.
- We think our soul has worth because we excel in academics, fine arts, or athletics, until He appeared, and the soul felt its worth
- We think our soul has worth because we are in a relationship, until He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.
- We think our soul loses its worth when we fail, until He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.
- We think our soul loses its worth when we are alone, until He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.
He has appeared, he will appear, and your soul has worth.
Our King and Savior now draws near: Come let us adore him.