“O Holy Night” is one of my favorite Christmas carols. This year it was as if I was hearing it for the first time. As Christmas approaches, with the world in the state that it is, I was struck anew with the line, “…the weary world rejoices.” The world certainly feels weary, doesn’t it? No matter how we try to spin it, weariness is weighing heavy on our souls. The lives of loved ones have been lost, families are divided, and many are alone. Alone and weary. Yet, because of “a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.” “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you” (Psalms 39:7 ESV).

Even in the exhaustion of keeping watch over their flocks throughout the night, I can only imagine the thrill of hope that overcame the shepherds the night that they saw the star. Or the overwhelming majesty that surrounded Mary and Joseph in the stillness of the stables as they looked down at their newborn son—their son who was to be the Savior of the world. When we put our Hope in the Lord, we can rejoice in the midst of any circumstance. Whether things have gone our way, or we are in a situation in which there seems no way out, there is hope to be found. The goodness and kindness of God don’t change and haven’t changed because of a pandemic or an election. The truth of God’s Word and the promises of God are eternal. That means FOREVER and always you can put your hope in the Lord.

Imploring you to put your hope in the Lord is not a license to dismiss or ignore the reality of what is happening around us. It is, instead, a call to view the things of this world through the lens of eternity and rejoice.

How then can we rejoice? When the weariness is overwhelming and one more thing is too much for our hearts to bear, may we fall on our knees. May we lift our tear-filled eyes to the heavens and turn our weariness over to our Father. Raise your hands and rejoice! Jesus came to save this weary world and to fill our tired souls with true hope found only in Him. No longer do we have to trudge along in the weariness of this world—a light has dawned. Our Savior, our Rescuer, has pulled us from the muck and mire, and He is the light shining in the darkness.* He will guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:79 ESV).

So then, stand firm and rejoice in hope. Not a fake, conjured hope but the true hope we have when we live and walk in the light of eternity. That is the thrill of hope. So as the weary world rejoices, may our weary hearts fully join in.

* “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2 NIV).

Father, we give You our tired hearts. We trade our weariness for Your eternal hope. We rejoice as we celebrate the birth of Your Son, and we thank You for sending Your Light so we no longer have to walk in darkness. Amen.

~ Allison Gardner

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