Here’s my oblogatory Christmas post. (See what I did there? You’re welcome.)
Confession: I love Christmas. I love crisp cold air. I love snow falling on puppy noses. I love the colored lights all over. I love wrapping paper and ribbons. I love buying things for other people. I love Christmas desserts. I love the holiday specials. I love sitting around the tree and the TV watching Die Hard or Muppet Family Christmas. I love it all. I even have come to appreciate the annual family drama. I like tradition. What can I say?
There’s not a lot about Christmas I don’t like. If I’m really honest. From the kooky specials or songs (save for a few) to the traditional carols and hymns.
On Sunday I was at service with my parents. It was a simple service. Mom directed a choir, which Dad was in. People’s gifts were utilized. If spoken word poetry was a gift it was up there. Recitations. Monologues. Songs. Children. All of it. With a simple message. John 8:12. “I am the light of the world.” The glory of God, which was so overwhelming when Moses saw but a passing glimpse of the tail end of it he had to wear a veil over his face for the rest of his life, because it was too much for anyone else to look at. When Christ says “I am the light of the world” it’s during a festival about the hope of restoring among the people that dwelling of God’s glory. And while that alone is pretty staggering, it caught me when we were singing “O Holy Night,” which granted, is a pretty song, but has never really been that significant to me.
The line that struck was just four words, and in closer listening it became more affecting, but all it took was
A thrill of hope.
a THRILL of hope.
There aren’t many things in life that thrill me. If I’m honest, which I try to be. I’m just not easily thrilled, which come Christmas or birthdays makes me a dreadful person to give to. Experiences don’t thrill me. But hope. Restoring hope, giving hope. That. That is thrilling.
Then looking at that whole verse:
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Millennia we’re sitting here screwing up. Missing the mark over and over, waiting. Long. Pining. That’s the perfect word. “Pining.” Until suddenly Jesus. And now? My soul feels worth. It’s like the one basic things humans are pining for. Worth. And there it is. Causing…a thrill of hope. A certainty. Because that’s what hope is. It isn’t wishful thinking. It’s a certainty. A thrill of hope that causes a weary and worn world to rejoice. Because? Look out, son, it’s a brand new start. I’ll say it, because Tony said it on Sunday. It’s a “new hope.” It’s not a certainty that some day the Messiah will come. For us it’s that he has come, and he’s coming back. One hope begets another.
His power and glory evermore proclaim!