Have you been listening to Christmas music since the calendar turned to November? Or maybe you have a rule that you can only listen after Thanksgiving. Regardless of when you started listening, chances are you have a favorite Christmas song.
Mine has been, and probably always will be, “O Holy Night.” It’s because of the best christmas lyric I’ve ever heard:
“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.”
Our world certainly is weary.
I’m weary that the term “active shooter” has become normal vernacular in my “safe” city. Terrorist bombings. Refugee crises. We live in a day and age where evil is closing in on all sides. I come to work and read story after story of the pain and brokenness caused by poverty. No mother should have to worry about how she will feed her newborn child and no child should have to go to bed hungry.
Oh weary soul, we live in a world that is broken. So very broken.
It’s disheartening. If I’m honest, sometimes it feels so overwhelming I feel paralyzed to do anything. And it’s the holidays. Lights are up and my days are supposed to be merry and bright. Yet in this season of the world, what is there to be merry about?
A friend painted these poignant words on canvas for me several Christmases ago, and I’ve kept it in a prominent place in my house year round. Day by day I need to be reminded of these things:
Weary world, you may rejoice in the hope that is promised to us.
“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-5 (NIV).
Weary heart, you may rejoice that someday all things will be made new.
“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” Revelation 21:5 (NIV)
Weary spirit, chose to believe that the best is yet to come.
“That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.’” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)
I rejoice in God’s people caring for a weary world. I rejoice in our church partners who help children feel known, loved and protected. I rejoice that loving sponsors thousands of miles away care for children who were born into awful circumstances. I rejoice that for every way Satan attempts to steal, kill and destroy, our God has overcome.
And this year, I deeply rejoice in the reality that this isn’t all there is.
In her book, The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp writes:
“You are made of the dust of this earth, and you are made of the happiness of heaven, and you are flesh and you are spirit, and you are of two worlds longing for the home of forever and Him.”
Yet what can we do in the waiting? Ann Voskamp goes on to offer:
“The answer to deep anxiety is the deep adoration of God. And the greatest gift we can give our great God is to let His love make us glad.”
Oh weary soul, rejoice.
The King is coming.
The pain, hunger and violence will end.
There is indeed much to make us glad.