Have you ever had a sudden twinge of anticipation? A jolt of joy? Out of nowhere, a thrill of hope?
If so, dear reader, you are twice-blessed: dwelling in possibility, yet validated with little snippets of well placed hope.
A dear friend called me amidst the holiday hustle to share an insight she'd had about the sacred song, O Holy Night. The line that struck her was "....a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices..."
It was enough, she said, to stop everything for a moment and consider the unexpected surprises in life; the little care packages of pure love; the thrills of hope, from God Himself.
For my friend, it became a prayer: "I invite you, Lord, to surprise me with hope!"
Indeed we are a weary world, a people burdened with wayward children, empty chairs, draining accounts, tired soldiers, and worrisome futures. And yet! And yet -- in the midst, when we are not really looking Up, an otherworldly current of electricity pulses through us. It is an infusion of trust, a blinding shaft of sunlight, a thrill of hope!
Such jolts are surely meant to delight us and to remind us there is always hope. When the mortgage is due, when the baby is crying, when dark storms are swirling on distant horizons, there are little "thrills of hope" welling up inside anxious souls like yours and like mine.
How thankful I am that my friend paused to consider a familiar phrase from an old carol. It became a gift to her, a gift she is carrying into the new year with a sense of expectation.
May you, too, be surprised and renewed in the middle of an ordinary day. It is a gift, a prayer, a splash of gladness in a weary world. This is hope, God with us, Emmanuel, beyond the nativity and into our needy hearts.