A Christmas Longing: Why Our Souls Are Stirred at Christmas

happens to me every year—whenever I hear certain Christmas carols like O Holy Night or O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, I get choked up; my emotions overtake me. No matter where I am—at church, the mall, or in the car; whether I am having a great Christmas or a very sad one—I get this lump in my throat whenever I hear these songs. For you, it may be some other Christmas-related thing that elicits this deep stirring within your soul. I remember getting this way even before I got saved.

What is it? Why are our souls stirred at Christmas?

~Is it linked to a fond memory from a childhood Christmas day? Not for me, I didn’t have too many of those.

~Is it due to some great gift I received one Christmas morn? No.

~Does it stem from many people being nicer this time of year? No.

In fact, I can’t say that this je ne sais quoi is really a feeling at all. For sometimes it’s mingled with joy, but at other times with sadness, loneliness, or even emptiness.

Well, one Christmas I received a book from a friend by Joni Eareckson Tada. And there was my answer!

In her book, A Christmas Longing, Joni said:

“What was I looking for? Why did I feel this mysterious pull…?

I know now that I was deep into a Christmas longing. It’s a longing each of us senses this time of year…a desire to be home, to belong, to find fulfillment, complete and eternal.

Christmas is an invitation to a celebration yet to happen.

On this side of eternity, Christmas is still a promise. Yes, the Savior has come, and with Him peace on Earth, but the story is not finished. Yes, there is peace in our hearts, but we long for peace in our world.

Every December 25 marks another year that draws us closer to the fulfillment of the ages, that draws us closer to… home.

Every holiday carol is a beautiful echo of the heavenly choir which will one day fill the universe with joy and singing.

Every Christmas gift is a foreshadowing of our gifts of golden crowns to be cast at the feet of the King of kings.

Every smile, every embrace beckons us onward, calls us upward when we will be with loved ones forever, when we will see our Lord face to face.”[i]

Well put, Joni!

I think I get choked up every year because it is the Lord Himself drawing me.

Before I was saved I believe that strange feeling was actually God attempting to make Himself known; making me aware of His existence and care; a calling to be with Him. Eventually—finally—I responded to that call.

Now that I’m saved, I believe He’s telling me, deep in my spirit, that He is the fulfillment of my every longing; that He is in the process of that fulfillment—one day He will make everything right and complete. I can celebrate in that fact!

I think Christmas may be harder for those of us who have lost a loved one or going through a major hardship because what’s wrong in the world is so up close and personal.

That ache in our hearts for something better isn’t wrong and we shouldn’t let it discourage us. Instead, we can see it as a reminder that the Lord isn’t done yet.

So the next time you get choked up over some Christmas-related thing, the next time you have a Christmas longing and your soul is stirred—remember:

That’s your heavenly Father drawing you to a better day when all will be completed!

My soul faints with longing for your salvation…. (Ps 119:123)

Meanwhile, my friends, rejoice and be glad in THIS day (Ps 118:24). God’s longing for that Day too; greatly anticipating the time when He will be with you, and all of His children, forever in complete bliss!

Merry Christmas!

[i] A Christmas Longing

Relevant Blog:
Missing Someone this Christmas? What to Do with Those Painful Memories

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.