About a week ago, I was sitting in church, and one my neighbors was playing a beautiful arrangement of "O Holy Night" on the piano. As I was listening, naturally the words of the song ran through my mind. This time though, there was a particular group of words that penetrated deeper into my heart than is usually the case. I had been a bit discouraged about this or that, the hardships of the world, the cynicism that sometimes seems ever-prevalent, the easiness of finding despair and the (sometimes) difficulty of finding joy. And then, that dear Jaime played the notes that go with these words:
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 . . .
Oh night divine! Oh night, that Christ was born.
As she did so, I felt peace. There is hope. There is always always always hope. It's a hard time to live, and horrific events are occurring throughout the world, and they hurt my heart and threaten to take over my thoughts and drag me down to despair. But, I will fight that despair, because if nothing else, I live in a time in which I know that Christ was born, and that is no small thing.
I feel that thrill of hope. I know that there are still new and glorious mornings to come.
And so, even as my mind wanders (unbidden) to closets and garages and secret spots on the other side of the country, places where Christmas presents lay waiting for little hands that will never come, these are the words that keep my heart from breaking completely in two.
For that I am grateful.
image courtesy of Greg Olsen's facebook page.