daily devotional

My favorite Christmas song is O Holy Night. It’s one of those songs I sing every year during a candlelight service that gets me all choked up. It says:

“A thrill of hope; the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees. Oh hear the angel voices. O night, divine. O night, when Christ was born.

The night when Christ was born. The manger scene, yes the scene that changed our lives. A thrill of hope. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.

Does Christmas still thrill you? Are you truly excited about Christmas? Has your long list of chores and duties robbed you from the wonder of Christmas? Plan the party, trim the tree, max out the Visa, stuff it, wrap it, pack it, ship it, make it, take it, fake it. Where’s the thrill of hope in that?

Jesus came to this world on that holy night to offer you and I hope.

Romans 15:13 says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Understand our God is the God of hope. You are not hopeless. There is not a single situation in your life that is hopeless. God reigns over all. He is sovereign. He is powerful. He is true and he is just. He is here today to fill you with joy and peace so that you may ABOUND IN HOPE.

“A thrill of hope; the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” ~~ O Holy Night

Jesus offers hope and hope should provide a thrill. This whole thing should be thrilling, exciting, and full of anticipation. That manger scene, those songs we sing, the gifts we give in remembrance of his birthday, this should be a THRILL. But is it really a thrill for you? Have we gotten so wrapped up in the “be here’s” and “do this’s” that we’ve lost the thrill of Christmas? If you didn’t wake up excited today, perhaps you’re doing it wrong. If you’re just ready for Christmas to be over already, oh my sister … you’ve missed something. Let’s find it again. Right now. How can we get back that excitement?

What if this could be the most exciting, most precious and priceless Christmas you’ve ever experienced? What if this Christmas has the potential to be that most memorable year that you look back on in all future years? Oh, would you feel the thrill of hope?

But most listeners are thinking right now, “I don’t want to get my hopes up”. Why? Because you’re afraid of being disappointed. But here’s what scripture says about hope in Romans 5:5 – “HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT BECAUSE THE LOVE OF GOD HAS BEEN POURED OUT WITHIN OUR HEARTS.”

You don’t want to get your hopes up this Christmas because you don’t want to be disappointed again, but God says HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT. God wants you to get your hopes up. He wants you to be excited! Be thrilled.
Max Lucado explains it like this – He says “Hope is not what you’d expect, it is what you would never dream. It is wild. Hope is not a granted wish or a favor, no it’s far greater than that. It is a wild, crazy dependence on a God who loves to surprise the heck out of us.”

Have we had hope all wrong? Is that why we’re not experiencing the thrill of hope? Hope isn’t a wish coming true. It isn’t a favor. It’s a dependence on this God of our who just loves to surprise the heck out of us.
Maybe hope isn’t actually something we do, but something we receive, like grace. Hebrews 11:6 says that “God is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Is hope that reward? Could the thrill of hope be the reward we receive when we seek him?

This Christmas, may you seek him. May you look for God in all the details. May you see him in those sweet precious moments that will NEVER, EVER HAPPEN AGAIN. May you see all the little imperfections and be thrilled by the million ways they are actually perfect. May you experience everything that is good and right in your world and know deep down in your soul it’s the result of grace, mercy and favor of a God who loves you wildly. May you depend on God as he surprises the heck out of you. And as you seek him, may you receive your reward … the THRILL OF HOPE.

May you be filled with hope as you celebrate Christmas. May any area of your life that has felt hopeless be renewed by the power of Jesus Christ. May every dark corner be lit up. May relationships be restored. May healing begin. May moments be savored. May you show up and act like the person God created you to be. Because of that holy night when Christ was born, you and I have the thrill of hope. This is our reward as we seek him.