Friday, December 6, 2013

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.

Since the day after Thanksgiving, I feel like everywhere I turn, people (mostly women, let's be honest) have been shouting about how they looooooove the Christmas season because they feel like they're allowed to unashamedly play Christmas music.  Now don't get me wrong, I love the Christmas season as much as the next person, especially now that a) I'm a Christian and b) I get to experience it all with Blake.  But here's the thing.  I feel like I'm the only person I know who isn't playing and obsessing over Christmas music 24/7.  And I don't mean that in judgment, I just mean I keep wondering why I don't love Christmas music as much as anyone else.  It feels especially weird knowing how much music speaks to me in every other situation, you know?

All of that to say, I've had that particular lyric in the title of this post, from "O Holy Night", in my head all night.  It feels rather fitting, really, because I've definitely been weary today.  It's one of those days where you just want it to hurry up and be over, so of course it seems to be crawling by.  A bunch of things going on that, by themselves, normally wouldn't make you feel like you're being kicked in the stomach repeatedly, but together, just make you feel so...defeated.

Dreading leaving Campbell tomorrow for four solid weeks, wondering if this break is going to be like all the others.  Knowing I want to be different but being scared that I'm never going to get it right.

Only sleeping about 3 hours last night, and totally not feeling well at all today.

Family drama.

Friends I held dear not really being friends at all.  And that making me wonder if the friends who have been so utterly loyal to me as of late are going to get tired of me and leave, too.

Fear over stupid things that a clear-headed me wouldn't even bother with.  (Example:  See above.)

See.  I'm all in all weary.

But as I was sitting here, unable to stop thinking about that lyric, I knew I had to get my head out of the mindset of thinking about all of the negative stuff.  And then I realized something.

Yes, the song says the world is weary, but that's far from the point of it.  The point is that the hope came (Jesus' birth, obviously), and that same world that had been weary?  It rejoiced.

Because I know who Jesus is and I know what he did for me so long ago, I always have something to rejoice about, even when it doesn't seem like it at first.

Jesus came to give me light in the darkness of my family, so I could be their light.

Jesus came to show me that I could be loved unconditionally, no matter how many times I mess up.

Jesus came to heal my broken heart, over and over again.

Jesus came to restore my broken family.

Jesus came to destroy fear.

Jesus came to give me rest in the middle of an exhausting world.

The best part is that the excitement of the Savior's arrival didn't end when he came.  One of the things I love most about the Lord that I love and serve is that Jesus rose.  He defeated death.  My God is here, alive, moving every day, more than two thousand years after that sweet little baby was born in a barn.  We have just as much reason to rejoice now as the shepherds and wise men who went to visit him while he laid in a manger did.

And the more I thought about it, the more I couldn't help but focus on all the ways I saw God's presence in my life today, despite how messed up a lot of it felt.

Having breakfast with Summer, and just sitting there talking to her about life.  Knowing that I will get up after only 3 hours of sleep on my "free day" way earlier than I normally would if it means I get to be with people, especially ones that I love.

Getting to share my testimony with Zack, a new friend from my church, but also getting to listen to some of his story and things that were on his mind.  Having this guy that I really don't know all that well telling me that I inspire him to get closer to God.

Going over to see Austin and giving him the letter I wrote for him last night.  He read it as I sat there, and then told me that it was exactly what he needed to hear...Realizing that it was God all along telling me to write that letter last night, and giving me the right words to share with him.  Praying over Austin and feeling God there with us.  There's something so powerful when two believers join hands to pray together.  When I left, I was thanking God for giving me the chance to bless Austin so deeply.

The kindness of strangers.

The freeing feeling I can get when I cry, and for once not feeling alone when I did.

A friend of mine sending me a long message of encouragement and support and ending it with "I'm not religious but I know you are so I'll say a prayer for you!"  And knowing that people see my faith.

Seeing God move in what is happening with me right now, being reminded that He is here even when I don't always feel Him, even when I wonder if my prayers get anywhere beyond the ceiling, it's EXCITING!  It gives me hope about the problems and prayers that haven't been answered yet, because I know that my God is never going to stop working.  Better yet, I have a life waiting for me in His presence that's never going to go anywhere because He loves His children enough to become flesh and take on our sin, my sin, so we don't have to pay the price.  And it all started with a newborn King who came to bring joy to a weary and broken world, fulfilling a prophecy that had been preached for thousands of years.

And do you remember what the line after "a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices" is?

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Tomorrow's a new day.  A day for new mercies, another chance to honor the Lord with what I say and do, new and resurrected hope.

And that's why I'm going to be okay.

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