We don’t talk much about the soul. Other generations did, but not ours. We are far more focused on our bodies and our money. This is apparent in our approach to Christmas with our lists of what we want and our search for the perfect gift at the deepest discount. It seems that we have abandoned discussions about the soul to practitioners of New Age and metaphysics.
The soul is not an organ that can be removed, placed on a laboratory table and analyzed. We cannot perform a “soul-ectomy We all sense that there is something within us that is more than the sum of our parts, the substance of our being where we make decisions that affect the health of our bodies, our mind and our emotions. This is our soul. It is the substance and the essence of who we are, especially in relationship to God and to each other. When the body withers and dies, the soul remains.
Jesus emphasized the importance of the soul. Regarding the soul in comparison to the body, he said, “Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mat. 10:28). With respect to money, Jesus said, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Mat. 16:25-27). He told a story of a rich man who was focused on his wealth and amassed greater fortunes. ' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?' (Lk 12:20).
David was intimately aware of his soul and referred to the soul often in the Psalms. He gave us clues as to how we can nurture and shape our soul. He said, “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.” And “Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in His salvation.” (Ps. 19:7; 35:9).
In some way, the Christmas season reveals the condition of our soul. If we focus on satisfying ourselves and others with possessions and self-gratification, Christmas becomes a season of stress, leaving us disappointed, exhausted and empty. But, when we approach Christmas in faith, our soul is stirred. When we focus on the goodness of God who sent His Son and when we seek opportunities for generosity and comfort to others, we discover joy and gladness. Our soul resonates with Mary, the mother of Jesus who sang, “My soul exalts the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my savior. For he has had regard for the humble state of his bondslave; for behold from this time on, all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is His name. And his mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. He has done mighty deeds with his arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent the rich away empty handed.” (Lk 1:46-55).