It is still dark and there are no little sounds of feet just yet. I am up before all of them, up before most of the city it seems too.
I went outside in the cold and the air was so crisp and clear in the dark with the moonlight washing over it. The days have been quite gray and dirty lately; the sky sitting low like one big cloud of dust. So the moon-washed canvas of darkness came as a welcome relief. I stared up at that moon.
Why is it that staring at a night sky sky is one of the most humbling and formidable, yet elating things to look upon? It makes me feel so small. It makes me wonder at all I believe. It makes the clarity of what is happening in life right now seem to blaze hot and white in the glow of those distant night lights. At least it does this for me.
Maybe it's the looking out into the universe and knowing more clearly than when I surf the web, that the life at my fingertips matters, and cannot be escaped or brushed away with mind numbing activities. Maybe it's the clear and blatant picture of a world that is so much bigger and beyond my small powers that it smacks me up against what humans throughout all of history have struggled against: their finiteness, their puny presence in a world molded by infinite hands. It's just a bit unnerving no matter how you look at it... as a nihilist or universalist or creationist, or what have you.
...Long lay the world, in sin and error pining
Til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth...
The soul felt its worth. That line stood out to me this year for some reason and keeps creeping back into my head. I can't get over it, looking at that moon hanging weightless in the sky, how little we really are, in all the scope of things. What gives us any lasting worth, if we are just creatures fighting our way through this survival of the fittest, trying to make every moment count? But He appeared and the soul, it felt its worth. It's a worth that can be felt through shame or guilt or love or mercy or a longing or loathing for any of these. But only a soul that has worth can feel a longing, an absence, an excess of it.
And all that longing, all that absence, all that excess, there's only One who can make it all come to rights. This is likely what the song is really saying, and not the line my mind took it down. He appeared, and the souls who see it, feel the weight of its worth.
Early morning moon gazing, on Christmas or any other day...I recommend it.