sharper focus ‘A thrill of hope— the weary world rejoices’
Victor Leslie, Lt. Colonel
Christmas is definitely a season for joy, peace and hope. Yet for many, Christmas loses its significance against the general despair, fear and stresses of the world that haunts our hearts as we navigate life’s journey. Now, more than ever, the world seems out of control and life seems joyless. It only takes a quick look on the Internet news or a few seconds of television news to realize that we live in a small, fragile, weary world that is divided by war, destroyed by hate, disquieted by dishonest leaders, and increasingly devastated by tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes and unpredictable bad weather.
Many of us gauge our lives based on our circumstances. We writhe in a world where we daily experience anxiety and pain as everything around us is literally being shaken. Like Fats Domino we go looking for thrills on “Blueberry Hill” but often end up singing the blues like B.B. King— “The thrill is gone; the thrill is gone away from me, although I still live on, the thrill is gone.” It does not have to be that way! The thrill of life and hope is available to you, through Christ, no matter what you see, hear, or feel. It’s above your circumstances of great stress, uncertainty and economic difficulty. The all-caring God offers hope and health to the oppressed and downtrodden. Through the beauty of the incarnate Son, the all-loving God offers to the disillusioned and distraught, a beautiful contrast—“a thrill of hope” so that “the weary world rejoices.”
A thrill of hope brings the assurance that, in the light of the continuing evidence of violence against mankind, the birth of Christ brings opportunity to truly provide good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight for the blind, and liberty to the oppressed. A thrill of hope that even when it looks like it’s all over—it’s not all over yet. To the torn and troubled, the hopeless and heartbroken, the thrill of hope is found in discovering that in Christ, there is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off (Prov. 23:18). To the lost, confused people right here in our neighborhood, the exhilarating thrill of hope that the mercy of God makes us whole and the forgiveness of sins brings us abundant life.
A thrill of hope makes a weary world rejoice, because the birth of Jesus brought God’s kingdom to our world and things changed radically. The Bible tells us that the way things are in our world is not the way they are supposed to be. God created a good creation, a joyful world that declared the glory of God and skies that proclaimed the work of his hands (Psalm 19:1). But this joy was decimated as God’s good creation was infected with sin and the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth, until now (Rom. 8:22). Now—a weary world rejoices because the birth of Jesus is much more than the beginning of hope, it is the end of a long period of waiting for comfort to come to a hurting world.
In these days when the economy is wilting and the world seems increasingly unstable; in these times when millions of people will see the Christmas season as nothing more than parties, gifts and time off work, I trust many will move their context for hope and joy off of “Blueberry Hill,” and into the reality of life as it is found in Christ. May we all find our thrill in the joy and hope that Jesus brings. In this weary world, there is no better time than now, this Christmas season, to zoom in on the message of renewal, faith and the thrill of hope found in Jesus Christ.