Thrill of Hope
Isaiah 9:7 “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’”
O Holy Night, a timeless Christmas melody, traces its origins to a French poem crafted in 1847. Its message deeply resonated with an American writer named John Sullivan Dwight, an advocate against slavery. The touching verse, "Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother, and in his name all oppression shall cease," inspired Dwight to create an English rendition. This adaptation gained popularity during the Civil War and continued to rise in approval. Then, in 1906, an innovator named Reginald Fessenden, primarily using his radio for Morse code, embarked on an unprecedented venture—to broadcast live music. On a chilly December night, surrounded by the words from Luke, "Glory to God in the highest," Fessenden seized his violin and began playing the haunting strains of O Holy Night. For those tuned in, it was an ethereal moment—a glimpse of heaven across the airwaves. Hope, tangible and serene, permeated the atmosphere: “a thrill of hope – the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
The lyrics of this song vividly portray a world yearning for a savior, craving hope amidst despair. Jesus came, fulfilling the deepest yearnings of our hearts. He walks alongside us in our darkness, amid our brokenness. The conqueror of death and darkness, "God with us," Immanuel, remains steadfast by our side. He embodies hope, even as the world still wrestles with its brokenness and challenges. This enduring hope continues to fuel weary souls, prompting a rejoicing in a troubled world. It's this hope that infuses our lives with meaning and purpose.
Sharing the message of Jesus' enduring hope with others. Engage in conversations with friends or family about the significance of hope in challenging times. Invite someone to a Christmas service today.
Practice gratitude for the presence of Jesus as our Immanuel, the God who is with us. Read Matthew 1:23 and thank Jesus for the constant companionship and the hope he brings.
Heavenly Father, in the stillness of this season, we embrace the thrill of hope that Isaiah spoke of. As the shepherds once marveled at your arrival, help us to fix our eyes on you, leaning into the confidence that your presence brings. In Jesus' name. Amen.