A Thrill of Hope...
“A thrill of hope… the weary world rejoices…”
That song has been playing in my head all day. I haven’t really listened to Christmas music enough yet for me to have heard that song. I’m not sure the reason why that’s the song in my head today. Plus, later in the song they use the word “yonder,” so that’s just fun.
But doesn’t it feel true?
Doesn’t it feel right in this season?
The season thrills and the world sort of shuts down to rejoice in the holiday season.
We kicked off Advent Sunday. I know not everyone celebrates Advent, and maybe for some it means opening a kids box for fun to countdown to Christmas. But I Love Advent. I typically read along with the devotion/reading plan at She Reads Truth. Advent and lent are staples in my faith journey year to year. They help me anchor and refocus, pointing me to the coming Messiah and His resurrection. For me it’s not always about the countdown to Christmas (just on hallmark), but it’s about focusing my attention to the Scriptures that point us to the promised Messiah and savoring the season for the right reasons.
And so whether or not Advent is significant to you, you can’t help but see Christmas this season. I mean, Walmart had Christmas decor for sale almost as soon as Labor Day was over. Lights go up around here and easily get mixed in with Halloween decorations. It’s laughable, really, how much our world explodes with Christmas.
You can make it spiritual or not, but either way our world is counting down until Christmas. We are in full anticipation of this season. And that’s what Advent is, a waiting and anticipation of the coming Messiah- Jesus’ birth.
Advent revolves around the five Sundays before Christmas. Each represents a theme for the week: Hope, Love, Joy, Peace, and finally Christ (on Christmas because He has come!)
The order is significant and intentional. I think it’s special we start this season with Hope. Coming into the twelfth month of the year, most of us are weary and tired, trying to make it to the fresh start of a new year. The weight of all the year’s events stacks up. The expectations of how special this season should be - the joy we should experience - hits reality when we’re fighting with loved ones or friends have let us down. We so need hope.
Annie F. Downs said today in her instastory that “we just need hope. It’s no accident that the first candle is hope, and I think that we need hope for this season but also I think that God is drawing our attention to hope to carry it into 2023.”
I love that thought that we may need to lean into this season, focusing on the hope that Christ brings so that we can enter a new year full of hope.
And so back to that old familiar Christmas hymn. “A thrill of hope.” Isn’t the thought of hope just enough to warm us? Sometimes we need to cling on to a tiny shred of hope to get us through the next day. And I hope that the thought of light at the end of whatever situation you’re in, can cause you to pause and smile. And maybe, your stomach does a little flop, like just before the break in a rollercoaster hill, because you know that there is a thrill yet to come. Christ is coming back, He is making all things new, He is faithful in all circumstances. And because of that, we can rejoice in this weary world.
I love that Noisy Narratives tells stories. Christy and Debbie talk of the Christ-filled stories that bring us hope. If you’ve been listening along with the ministers’ stories, you’ll see the threads of hope amidst the weary in their lives. We hope that these stories point you to hope and to Jesus.
So, whatever season your life is in right now, know that you are not alone and that there is hope. We all need a little hope, so stock up this month. Bring on the decorations and jingles. But mostly, come long expected Jesus. Come and fill us with hope. May we hold on to hope in this season. Because Jesus is best and He is the joy of our hearts - this Christmas season and always.