Sometimes too I will pick up a used book and look at passages that somebody else has highlighted – maybe even a long time ago. I feel like I have been given a window into somebody’s soul. It’s interesting to ponder, as I read through some anonymous person’s highlighted passages, what they might have experienced or loved or feared or wondered at.
Thanks to modern technology, we now have a way to glimpse into our broader society’s collective soul. People at Amazon.com have been monitoring and keeping track of book passages that have been highlighted by their Kindle readers. Earlier this year, Amazon revealed which passages were highlighted most by readers of their e-books.
Millions of passages from millions of books were highlighted. Topping the list of the most highlighted e-book passage of all time was a quote from Catching Fire, the second book in best-selling The Hunger Games series. Highlighted by 17,784 readers was the sentence, “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.” This was highlighted almost twice as often as the second most highlighted passage.
It’s a simple sentence – not especially insightful or memorable, not poetic. One can’t help but wonder what it triggered in the hearts of so many people. It is a sentence that speaks of need and helplessness. It speaks of mystery and points to forces and a power beyond us.
It’s a sentence that speaks to us about Christmas. All of those readers who highlighted that passage likely were feeling, whether they realized it or not, the most important thing any spirit can feel – the need for a Savior. The more we reflect on it the more we will see. We all are painfully aware that we need to be changed, healed, fulfilled, helped, and lifted out of the darkness – but we cannot do it ourselves. We’re not equipped to deal with this.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Thank you, good people of Nativity, for all you do to keep me and others pointed to Jesus. What is true Christmas spirit? It’s knowing that He is lifting you out of the darkness in a way that you could never do yourself.
I pray that for all of you Christmas is a highlight that you can re-live over and over. Peace!