The Weary World Rejoices

Blog 2020.12.16

A few days ago, I was driving home on a cold, dreary night.  The steady rain on the foggy passenger window created a blurry view of colored lights on the homes I drove by.  I spied a large wooden cut-out of the Grinch who seemed to be pulling down the lights from the home. Though meant to spark the smile of onlookers, for me, at that moment, it only depressed me.  I was feeling tired. Ragged. Weary.

Preoccupied with my growing to-do list, consumed with homesickness for my family whom I have not seen in months, and worried about a loved one, I was only half-listening to my car radio playing in the background.  But then the smoky voice of Nat King Cole cut through the noise of my mental burdens and my attention switched to my favorite Christmas song, O Holy Night.

It’s a song I have heard more than a thousand times but never grows old to me.  I am not sure exactly what about it captivates me so… Maybe it’s the building melody of it. Or the soloist’s flow and inflection of voice as the lyrics are sung.  Or perhaps the poignancy of the lyrics. Moving. Touching. Hopeful.  Yet all the while, the song is tinged with humanity’s struggle of living in an imperfect and sometimes painful world.

But as I listened to the lyrics that night, it was as if I was hearing them for the first time.  No, I take that back.  Not hearing them for the first time, feeling them for the first time. Deep down in the depths of my soul, I was feeling the song in a way that I never had before. 

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! O night when Christ was born.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices…  Oh, how weary I have been.  Oh, how weary our world has been.  I was allowing my weariness to consume me, so much that I was now blind to the most glorious reason to have hope.

This noble song replenished "the thrill of hope" within me as I was reminded of how our perfect, divine God willingly gave up every and all comfort, all of His deserved honor and praise, only to be born as a helpless child in such a lowly circumstance.  A child who, as a man, would know weariness and pain in a way that I never will have to experience. Why would He do this? Because of His immeasurable, all-consuming love for the world.

The lyrics go on, urging me to trust Him because He does know my needs and understands my feeble weaknesses.  He is no stranger to my pain.  He is not a distant king, unfamiliar with my trials, but a King so close to me so that He may hear my cries that I may fall at his feet in supplication.

When I do come to Him, earnestly and humbly recognizing that He is my king, a remarkable transformation happens. Strengthen and sustained by His law of love and His Gospel of peace, my chains of oppression are broken.

I have every reason to rejoice, even during this troubling time when it seems the world has turned upsidedown.  I should be so filled with joy that I cannot contain my gratitude and my praise. On Him, I must focus. For when I have my eyes focused on Jesus, my weariness is forgotten.

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we;

let all within us praise his Holy name!

And with the crescendo of “O night Divine”, I found that my praise came forth not in lyric or applause, but in a shower of tears at the wonder of the birth of my Savior and His love for me.  Tears now blurring my vision rather than the rain, I was reminded that though in some ways this Christmas is very different in how I can celebrate, what I celebrate has not changed.  And that is what truly matters.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16