The Thrill of Hope.

24 December 2014

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

~from O Holy Night, penned by John Sullivan Dwight

I’ve got so much to write I can’t figure out where to start, so instead of pulling together my own words out of the jumbled mess I start with these beauties.  These holy, inspired words that have been rattling around incessantly since the beginning of the Advent season, the season of waiting.  The words encouraging my soul to feel its worth, the words that regularly bring me to my knees in reverence to the king who was born on this day, words that for some reason resonate more deeply this year than ever before. Today it’s a different phrase of the same haunting lyrics that has got a hold on my heart.

The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.

Weary [weer-ee] adj.

                -Physically or mentally exhausted by hard work, exertion, strain, etc.
                -Fatigued; spent; tired; empty.

My heart is weary. Last week was one of the hardest weeks I’ve experienced in a long time, for various reasons to be explained at a different time and place.  I’ve been pushing hard since I left Gran Canaria to start Madagascar advance and haven’t really stopped more than a day here and a day there; in the marathon that is this life and this season, I’m still running but at a very slow pace and it’s time for a fuel break.  I am not alone in this; just about every person I have talked with on the ship in the last few days has made mention of the weary they feel.  My lovely friend Deb captured it beautifully here, the same words haunting her that have haunted me.

Thankfully, I know the bigger story at play.

Though I feel completely empty, my heart rejoices with hope – in my small story, this is the promise of some time away, of mental recharging, of relaxing with friends and a good book and no demands or devices or expectations or emails. And that is wonderful and I can’t wait. 

But in the bigger story, the story of ages and centuries and the rise and fall of the human race, hope is worth rejoicing in.  The world is weary, life is just hard sometimes, we find ourselves separated from our creator in a way that was never mean to be and left us fractured and broken and desperate… for hope. If we can get our focus off ourselves for just a few seconds and realize the magnitude of the beauty found in the manger, the promises he brought on his sojourn here on earth, we would not be able to contain the thrill that is hope. 

Dwell on that for a minute.

Do you feel the thrill? The wonder of it all? The joy that is ours to claim, from a baby born in a barn who came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. The hope that there is more than just this, that we are part of something bigger than our small stories; and I know my weary heart will soon be renewed, as will the weary world, one day.

A new life brings hope. And hope breathes life into weary hearts.  Beauty, in life.

Fall on your knees.

And the weary world rejoices. Oh, that we might know the depth of this night, the significance of the baby we celebrate together, the thrill of hope that he brings for you and I.  This is my prayer for you, this holy night, this night divine.

Much love to all, and Merry Christmas.


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