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Advent Week 3, Saturday


Thrill of Hope
Reflection by Beth Dixon, Kentucky Annual Conference Communications/NetConnect editor

The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
Psalm 126:3

“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…”*

My church choir has been singing an arrangement of “O Holy Night” at our Christmas concerts this year, and the words quoted above have really caught my attention. I have heard this song my whole life, but somehow the notion of “a thrill of hope” has captured my imagination in a new way this year (I can’t say “this season” because we have been rehearsing the song since late August). 

The world has plenty of reasons to feel weary: the economy, ongoing wars, killer diseases, political debates that seem to end in nothing but gridlock. Many people have had their energy depleted by stresses at work, trying to make ends meet, and caring for both young children and aging parents.  Not to mention the everyday annoyances that can get us down—things like traffic, crowded shopping centers, the way the self-checkout at the grocery store gets stuck six times on a ten-item order.

In the midst of this sort of chaos and exhaustion, Christ is born. God sends a Savior. God comes to dwell among us. We are not alone. “A thrill of hope.” There is much more to life than the things that weigh us down. And this is reason to rejoice.

I was driving to the church for one of our concerts after a day at work. I was tired and thinking about all the things I had left to do, both for work and to get ready for holiday celebrations. I was feeling the effects of allergies. Then a song came on the radio, Michael W. Smith’s “Gloria,” an exuberant version of “Angels We Have Heard on High.” And a tree caught my eye—a huge deciduous tree covered in multi-colored lights, a whimsical display that has been making me smile all month. Suddenly there was in my car a moment of overwhelming joy. It was a powerful reminder of the hope we are especially focused on during the Advent season.

Whether you are stressed out or utterly relaxed this holiday season, whether you are weary or full of energy, I pray that you will know the thrill of hope and that it will cause you to rejoice.

*“O Holy Night,” words by Placide Cappeau, translated to English by John S. Dwight

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