The Thrill of Hope – Keeping Us Faithfully Seeking
Looking for consistency in the world today often feels futile. Seeking satisfaction from the tasks and
duties that come each day can be frustrating and disappointing. As Solomon has said in the book of
Ecclesiastes: “there is nothing new under the sun and our actions are meaningless, utterly meaningless”.
There is only one truth that holds meaning and we must faithfully seek connection with the God of all
creation in fresh ways each day. It may seem cliché to say we should keep Christmas alive in our hearts
all year round. But we can! It will require us to intentionally seek the “thrill of hope” Christmas awakens
in us, so that our faith will be strengthened for the journey before us.
Perhaps that is part of the blessing in the season celebrating the birth of Christ at the end of a calendar
year. I love the Christmas carols that lift our eyes heaven-ward and speak life, hope and proclaim the
reason for joy to overwhelm our weary souls. One line from a favorite carol is now prominently posted
on my dresser mirror to remind me each new day is filled with hope because of God’s presence. “The
thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn . . .”
As the calendar year of 2023 closed out with 2024 on it’s heels, I find myself looking for strength for the days ahead and wisdom to avoid the missteps that were made in the last year. The ending of another year always brings reflections
and forecasts to our minds. Many times, the reflections include questions of what I didn’t do that was
important or the long list of “what if” thoughts for the things we resolved to do but find still undone at
the end of another year. It can be daunting and even feel a bit defeating if we focus too much from our
narrow human perspective! Even though the book of Ecclesiastes can appear bleak at first glance, I find
it a great encouragement. In these chapters where the wisest man who lived on earth instructs us to
persevere and be faithful in our efforts because the glory and victory are always God’s alone, I recognize
the powerful truth that anything we do apart from God will be meaningless.
God is always faithful, always holy, always just, and always loving. We need His constant and steadfast
presence to face daily living with hope and overcome the temptation to submit to an attitude of
dejectedness. The gift of Christmas and God’s plan for salvation for all who will accept the greatest gift
ever offered is available to us in fresh ways every day. I am opening the gift of each day of the coming
year with intentional recognition that God’s love, mercy, and grace. He has promised that these gifts are
new every morning and will faithfully sustain me as I seek to walk in His will. I am turning my eyes and
heart heavenward, seeking to share the only true hope, the gift of Christ in my words, actions, and
deeds with those around me in this weary world.
I pray you will join me in this pursuit to keep the “thrill of hope” throughout the new year.