A Thrill of Hope

The other night at the Hanging of the Greens, I exhaled. Really exhaled. I breathed in the holiness of the start to a very sacred season and I exhaled the worries of the world. My soul was overwhelmed by the singing of O Holy Night and my heart was captivated by the cherished words we sing yet often fail to notice.

O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our 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 glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels’ voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine o night
O night divine

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels’ voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine o night
O night divine

Composed by Adolphe Adam, 1847

 

Look at these words:

  • Long lay the world in sin and error pining. We are consumed by wrong actions, wrong thoughts, wrong motives, and wrong spirits. Our world is consumed by selfishness, bitterness, and strife. In the misery of our errors, we are pining for something that means more than what the world can offer us, and a God that is capable of far more than we are.
  • Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. And the soul felt its worth. Wow. When was the last time your soul felt the worth of Jesus? Really felt the power of God incarnate, Emmanuel – God is with us? In the presence of God, do our souls recognize the glory of the Lord? Are we yet in awe or have we forgotten?
  • A Thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. I am weary. My friends and colleagues are weary. Many of you are weary. The news of local, national, and global events is wearing us out. The burden of keeping up with our neighbors, our children, and our co-workers is stealing our joy. Our fear of not having enough, loosing our businesses, not being able to pay for our prescriptions, or being unable to purchase Christmas presents has run us down. Our constant comparing of our lives with the highlight reels of others has us depressed and defeated. A colleague of mine who serves a Lutheran church in Honolulu was sharing with me her weariness in the light of having nuclear warning systems being tested near her home. What does it look like, in our weary world of today, to have a thrill of hope? What kind of hope would thrill us? Peace? Safety? Security?
  • Fall on your knees, O hear the angels voices. When was the last time you fell on your knees? We are called to humble ourselves before the Lord and offer our prayers. I asked someone this week when the last time was that they prayed to God and asked what God wanted. They responded, “I don’t have time for that.” This person was honest. If we are honest, we are not finding time for God either. We need to be a people on our knees. (Or humbly seated if we cannot get down on our knees).  How are we to ever hear the angels voices if we are too busy for God? We are never too busy for God, we just prioritize everything before God. If Christmas night happened today, we would miss it.  We wouldn’t stop to hear the angels voices. We wouldn’t stop to follow the star. We wouldn’t stop to humble ourselves before the Lord in a dirty stable. Or would we?

I believe that Jesus is the answer our world needs. I believe peace is the result of justice, justice is the action of love, and love is the result of a soul captivated by Christ. We are in a world pining for so much more yet continually looking to ourselves for the answers. When my soul feels the worth of the presence of God, I am better for God and for others, and this presence gives me a thrill of hope. I believe the world will one day rejoice in peace, but this peace begins with us.  “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

Church, this Advent, may we fall on our knees and hear the angels voices. May we experience the thrill of what hope feels like. And may we break free from the chains of weariness as we rediscover the peace of Jesus Christ, a peace that lights up the world and causes us all to rejoice.

Pastor Tiffany

December 2, 2017