A Thrill of Hope

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
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!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;

O Holy Night is without doubt my favourite carol. There is something so poignant that speaks of the expectation of Advent, the hopeful waiting of a people waiting for their Saviour and on that night hope finally broke through in the most unexpected way.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.

After all this time, hope has won. All the wars and fighting for home, the longing for rescue, made worth it because a baby was born. A new life that would herald a new hope for the whole world. A new hope because as The Message translates it:

“The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood.”

The Creator God of Heaven and Earth came to be with us. Emmanuel.

He came to experience everything human life has to offer, from filing his nappy, to dying the ultimate death and everything in between. More than that, he came to love us in our humanity. Dietrich Bonhoeffer says this:

“And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…. God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.”

And whatever this Christmas may bring, I pray that the hope that was born in a Bethlehem stable carries you through and that you may be able to rejoice, however weary your world is tonight.

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