A Thrill of Hope

“O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn”

Merry Christmas, friends! I absolutely love this time of year. As 2017 is coming to a close, I have to be honest and say that this has been an extremely hard year for me. Even with that said, though, it’s been such a sweet year with the Lord. Even in the midst of such a tough year, I have felt the nearness of God like never before. I’m really excited to be able to share with you guys what God has been doing in my heart in this season, and also share our Christmas photos by Willow Dyln! She did such an amazing job and blessed us with tangible memories to look back on this season with.

So, you know those songs that just paint a picture in your head as you listen carefully to the words? O Holy Night does that for me. It’s my absolute favorite Christmas song, and I can’t listen to it without tearing up a bit. Think about these words and allow them to create a picture in your mind.

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth. On an ordinary night, the most extraordinary being would be birthed into the world. It should tell us a lot about the nature and character of our God when we consider that such a supreme being would humble Himself to enter the world in this way. Born into an average family. Literally birthed in a dirty barn. Not exactly a grand entrance.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Hearts and souls all over the world were yearning and groaning for this night—for the birth of Jesus. The world was in turmoil. People were far from God, lost and sinning, fighting battles they could not win, and essentially living in hopelessness, as they knew the penalty of their sin was death.Till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth. The fact that Jesus came literally changed everything. It proved that God is true to His Word, as prophets had been speaking of this night for so long. It proved God to be merciful and loving, and that He had not left His people to walk through life all on their own without hope.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Jesus proved that hope had come. He came to bring joy, peace, justice, healing, comfort, strength, and to show that accessibility, relationship, and intimacy with God was finally and truly possible. Quite literally, a THRILL of hope. And because Jesus Himself was a promise from God that came to fulfillment, we can trust in every promise from God now and forevermore. That means that whatever promise we might be holding onto, whether it be for healing from disease, for financial provision, for a spouse, for a baby, for the returning of a prodigal family member, or for breakthrough in any other area in our lives—God will be faithful to fulfill it.

 Now, with all of that said, there’s one thing we must remember, and that is the fulfillment of that promise may not look the way we expect. I’m willing to bet that those who heard about the coming of Jesus expected a superhero-like being to come riding in through the clouds on a horse, ready to rule and reign as soon as his feet hit the ground. Instead, they got a baby born in a barn who didn’t start his public ministry till he was nearly thirty years old. To put it bluntly, if Jesus had come the way most people expected, we’d have little to no reason in our minds to relate to Him, love Him, or follow Him. But because Jesus came as a baby and grew up to face extreme temptation, struggle, and persecution, we relate to Him. Because Jesus chose the Cross in order to pay for our sins so that we could live a full and abundant life, we love Him. And because He lived a spotless life and demonstrated what it means to draw near to God in times of trouble, we follow Him. His way was the better way, and it still is today.

I don’t know about you, but as nice as that sounds, it’s a hard pill to swallow. I like my way. My way gets me what I want, when I want, and how I want it. My way serves me and benefits me. Sounds like a pretty awesome deal, right? Maybe it is… but when bitterness, anger, and sadness creep in because things aren’t happening my way, I ask myself this question, and I challenge you to ask yourself the same. When a promise is fulfilled, would I rather it come in a completely predictable, self-controlled, fully expected, little to no element of surprise kind of way, or would I rather it come as a thrill of hope?

A thrill of hope.

Every time.

Our way is okay, but God’s way is so. much. better. So much sweeter. His way draws us closer, takes us deeper, and woos our hearts into becoming more and more in love with Him. Our way allows us to give ourselves a pat on the back, and it ends there. His way causes us to be overwhelmed by such a selfless and sacrificial love. Our way gives us what we want at best. His way gives us what we want and more. Our way is dependent on our limited power, knowledge, and control. His way knows no bounds. Our way satisfies us temporarily until the next struggle comes along. His way sustains us and serves as a monument of His faithfulness to look back on in times of need. Our way serves and benefits ourselves, and ourselves only. And most importantly, His way gives Him glory and draws other people to Him when they look at what He’s done. His way is a thrill of hope.

I’m waiting on a promise from God. I don’t know when or how it will come, but I know it’s coming. And when it does, I know I’ll be completely overwhelmed and undone by His love and faithfulness. I’ll be blown away because it’ll be better than I could have asked or imagined. It’ll be a moment I’ll never forget and it will serve as a monumental, pivotal point in my life. And it will be a testimony of His faithfulness that draws everyone around me closer to Him. And THAT… That is worth it to me. Every time.

My prayer for you and for me is that we would never be satisfied or content with our own way, but that we would wait for the thrill of hope. It is worth it every time. He is worth it every time. Merry Christmas, friends. Thanks for reading!


 Photos by Willow Dyln

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