Greg and I are having a harder time this year getting in to the Christmas spirit. The past couple of years, actually, have been a little harder than normal. I think the correct word for how we feel this year would be “distracted”. We’re distracted by work and deadlines, keeping our budget on track during the most expensive season of the year or just the fact that there are some situations happening in our life that we just wish….weren’t. We know we can’t fix them. We know that God hasn’t let them go unnoticed and we know that some of them will remain in limbo for a while. We just wish they…weren’t.
This Christmas carol O Holy Night, has always been a bit of a joke in my house growing up. It’s one of my dad’s favorite Christmas songs and he really likes to sing it. Correction: he likes to belt it out at the top of his lungs as if he possesses the talent of…well, anyone who can actually sing, really. So as a result whenever I think about O Holy Night it’s usually with an eye roll and a smirk. But this year, this song has assaulted me. It’s crept up on me in the grocery store and in church and on the radio in the car. It happens the same way every time: it comes on, my auto response clicks in, I begin to smirk and roll my eyes, and start humming along and then this verse happens:
A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices / For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
And I’m stopped dead in my tracks every time. Tears begin to mist up and depending on where I happen to be at the time, I either distract myself immediately with produce or Levi or I just let them fall for a minute and ponder the depth of that small fragmented sentence.
It’s the one-two knock out punch of the line that gets me. “A thrill of hope” makes distracted, worried Reagan roll her eyes at the fact that people so shamelessly throw themselves into Christmas hoping it will snap them out of the fogs of their troubled lives. But then, “a weary world rejoices” and I realize people aren’t hiding their sorrow behind the “joys” of Christmas. They are simply taking a breath. There’s an admission there: We are weary. We aren’t hiding. We aren’t ignoring. Come December 26 we know our worries will still be there! But…we are taking a breath, a moment, if you will, to remember hope. Not hope that life will be magic on Christmas Day. Not hope that problems will melt away or that Santa will leave us a worry free life under the tree. But a hope that says “tomorrow”, whenever that might be, will be a new and glorious morning.
I think I went in to this Christmas wishing and praying that it’s winter magic would conquer my distracted life. And I think I’ve been disappointed that all of the Christmas carols and the smells of Christmas haven’t jolted me out of my gloom. But maybe this Christmas isn’t meant solely for joy and brightly colored ornaments on my tree. Maybe this Christmas is for remembering that hope exists. And that its ok to take a breath, to admit that I am weary and to breathe in the beautiful aroma of the hope of a new and glorious morning that is waiting for one day to be today.