Today was another Christmas Sunday. Tomorrow is Christmas eve. And the day after that is Christmas, the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior.
I wish I had something awe-inspiring to share with you, to give you great hope. But I just don’t have words right now. I know that there is hope; there is true hope. And if you are experiencing that beautiful hope this Christmas, don’t hang on to it, but share it with those around you! Make it known to your friends, your family, your children.
O Holy Night is one of my most beloved Christmas songs. I think I’ve loved nearly every arrangement I’ve heard of it, because it’s tune is so melodic, so pure. You can’t help but be called to worship when O Holy Night is sung. I most recently heard it sung beautifully at the York High School Choral Concert. Magnificent.
Part of the first verse and chorus read like this:
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
And I think about that phrase ‘the weary world rejoices”, and my heart falters a bit. This world is weary. And tonight, I am quite weary. It’s challenging to immerse oneself in all that is Christmas, when one’s soul resists, whether that resistance be from stubbornness, or weariness, or sadness, or maybe all three.
What would make a weary world rejoice? What can make my weary soul rejoice? This tired soul that feels 20 years older than what it is?
The only answer to those questions come in the context of the worlds surrounding that phrase in this song. A thrill of hope. A thrill of hope. When one has been hopeless for so long, like the people living under Herod’s rule after so many years of silence from God, than even the slimmest glimmer of hope would cause a thrill.
The same is true for us today. We who find ourselves lost in a sea of hopelessness, when we see that small light that illuminates the deep darkness even for a moment, there is a thrill. A thrill of hope that causes rejoicing amongst the weary. Maybe timidly at first, maybe quietly a first, but as hope energizes, that rejoicing becomes stronger, louder, riding on a swell and tide that can not hold back the dawn even if it wanted to. Because look! Yonder breaks a new and Glorious Morn!
There is nothing like being on the East shore of an island in the middle of the pacific on New Year’s eve morning, arriving around 4:00 AM, bundled up against the cold, setting up beach chairs, and settling to wait in the all consuming darkness. Slowly dawn comes on, as the sky lightens, the fist dawn of the new year. And as you wait, nearly holding your breath, you see the brilliant glimmer of the first peek of the sun over the ocean horizon. The words “For Yonder Breaks a New and Glorious Morn!” have never been more true in this age and time as watching the sun rise in the East.
And they were never as true as they were that night, over 2000 years ago in a stable in Bethlehem, as the Morning broke with the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And then, this thrill of hope that the weary, weary world is rejoicing over, grows into an unimaginable swell of worship: Fall on Your Knees!! Hear the Angel Voices!! O Night Divine!! O Holy Night!! With a crescendo throughout the ages that repeats itself each and every Christmas season, as our souls hearken back to that night, the night that gave the weary world a reason to rejoice in a thrill of hope.
I am very weary tonight, my soul is weary. It does not seem like Christmas. Sadness is heavy, and I need to fight it, fight for joy to prepare my soul to celebrate the birth of my Savior. For like the weary world, I know I am not without hope. It is there, the glimmer of it is there. And I must hold on to it and share it with my crew, teaching them once again the importance of our Savior coming to earth as a tiny baby, taking on human form and flesh so as to be amongst the people, and ultimately to take the sins of the world upon Him as a sacrifice for our sins.
But for now, it is important that my own weary soul fall to its knees, and hear the angel’s voices through the pages of scripture. And worship this Christ chid; who was born that He may give life.