A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices // For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn – O Holy Night

A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:5

This December we find ourselves partakers of a weary world. We are discouraged, downtrodden, exhausted, and afraid. For the past year, we have sheltered in our homes, watched social and political unrest in our streets, lost jobs, faced natural disasters. Our world seems to be crumbling around us, and we are weary. Though the Christmas season doesn’t usually bring to mind lament and longing—we prefer to cling to phrases like “Merry and Bright” and “Joyful Joyful,” advent meets the longing of weary people in a weary world with the thrill of hope and the promise of rejoicing. 

Though today I find myself placing hope in a vaccine that will end the pandemic and rejoicing in an intense year coming to a close, these are not the promises that we long for in the advent season. The thrill of hope in advent is that our God has drawn near to us in the person of Christ. At Christmas, we celebrate the first advent, the first coming of Jesus into our world as a light shining in the darkness. Our God chooses to enter into our weary state in order that a new and glorious morn might dawn. 

But today we also live between advents, between comings. Jesus has come and ascended, but he promises he will return. And this is the thrill of hope we must cling to today, that our God has entered into our darkness once to redeem us, but he will do it again to bring us once and for all into his glorious light. That the light shines in the darkness, and no matter how bad a year can be, the darkness will not overcome it. This is what we rejoice in when we find ourselves weary—that our God has promised to come again and make all things right, and he is faithful. 

May we rejoice knowing the light still shines in the darkness, and may our hope be in the promises of our good King Jesus.

Reflect: What are you hoping for in this season?

Pray: Jesus, I confess that I place my hope in so many things other than you. Open my heart that I might know the hope of your promises, give me endurance to hold fast to the hope of the gospel, and fix my gaze upon the hope of your unfailing love. Amen.

Listen: O Holy Night