Abide: A Thrill of Hope!

Sometimes, I’m preoccupied with my feelings. SO preoccupied, that I am no longer fit for anything except for going to bed and letting Jesus and sleep wash my brain out. (Or “peelings” as in this video… If you’ve never seen the Happy Slip videos, you should. Some wonderful MK friends who grew up in the Philippines shared these with me in college… They are still awesome.)

Lately, I find myself asking for God to hush my soul, quiet the unceasing river of thoughts and feelings and little worries and distractions that even the smallest of occurrences sometimes unleash. It’s annoying is what it is.

But he answers me- you know, when I let him.

I don’t know if you are one of those people who doesn’t listen to Christmas music until at least the day after Thanksgiving, but here, I freely confess that I’ve been listening to Christmas music for like, a couple weeks now.

Not so much the bumpety-bump-bump-bumpety-bump-bump-look-at-frosty-go kinds of songs. I’m talking about the real stuff, the good stuff. Like this album by Aaron Shust, or this album by The Chieftains. For one thing, I’ve listened to the latter for most Christmases of my life. The former just came out within the last couple years.

What I love about these is the sort of ancient beauty that comes with a lot of their songs, the hard-to-explain wonder and mystery of Christ becoming flesh, dwelling among us, working out God’s mighty plan (as the “Advent Carol” says on Shust’s album).

And the other thing I love is- the hope. Somehow, I can often hear hope louder at Christmas time. It’s “the truth that sings into my darkness, the melody of love that leads me on” as Ellie Holcomb talks about.

Don’t the old Christmas hymns put it all so well? Like, O Holy Night.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!”

I love that. “A thrill of hope.” It makes me glad we celebrate Christmas when we do, even though Jesus was probably actually born at the opposite end of the year.

A Thrill

Because winter is dark, friends. And so is the world. At it’s darkest time of the year, we celebrate light. We celebrate the Light. The Word came down and spoke a new word to us- hope.

Maybe that’s why I’ve started listening to Christmas music already. Sure, I love the festive mood, but the hope of Christmas goes infinitely deeper than bells and holly.

 

I felt it already, yesterday. It was all rainy and overcast and sleepy, and all the kids at daycare seemed to be fighting a case of the Mondays- but on a Wednesday. (Bless their sweet lives. I can relate. Can’t you?) And I looked out the window during nap time, and saw a tree all but silhouetted against a dark gray sky.

And I felt a thrill of hope. It’s a sort of quietly defiant thing; it’s knowing that Jesus gives his abundant peace and abundant presence- right here. Right now.

A Thrill close upThank you, God, for that. If anything can quiet my confusing, annoying feelings, that hope can. As the NASB version of Romans 5:5 says,

and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

If I’m feeling disappointed, then it seems like that’s probably because my hope wasn’t in the right place. (Isn’t it funny how we are always questioning God about things- when he never changes-when we are the ones who are so changeable? ) 

The mystery of Christmas is the mystery of Christ- this abundance and hope that when we dwell in- abide in- him, he gives us his fullness. Wow. Fullness, you guys.

Most of the time, I feel lacking- incomplete. But the Word says we are made complete through him. This is our hope. Paul says this in Colossians 1,

so that I might [aj]fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His [ak]saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

He keeps laying that on me during this season of abiding: the riches of the glory of this mystery…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

I keep pondering this phrase, asking God to plant it like a seed deep in my soul. Christ in me- a thrill of hope.

May we delight in this mystery together.

There are so many deep, good words of Christmas. I’ve been swirling some of them onto paper for the shop this Christmas. I’ll be revealing them one at a time here! To see “A Thrill of Hope” in the shop, click either of the pictures above.

Some housekeeping about the shop:

  1. Remember, every print in my shop is a downloadable, digital print (unless otherwise specified). Obviously, these you can download and print yourself. BUT, if you decide you’d like to order a physical print to be mailed to you, you’ll notice that’s a separate listing for both 8×10 and 5×7 prints.
  2. Don’t forget about the Christmas cards!!! I’m SO excited about these, friends, and I only have about 12 sets left! And those are NOT downloadable. Remember each set comes with 4 different card designs. Rejoice Wreath Love Hans Comfort and Joy A Beautiful Sight
  3. Any item to be mailed- i.e. Christmas cards, physical prints, etc.- needs to be ordered by Wednesday, December 16th at the very latest. 
  4. There may be a special Christmas gift package on sale in the next couple of weeks, so keep your eye out for that!

That’s all, friends. I hope this post brought you a little- well- hope today. From my heart to yours.