Thursday, December 24, 2015

a thrill of hope

I'm a few days into Christmas break and already feeling well rested now that the 4:51 am alarm clock has been turned off.  In fact, we have already experienced a Christmas miracle: both darlings received their Christmas vacation memos and have slept until past seven every morning thus far. 

After a couple mornings of sleeping in, I decided to crawl out of bed early this morning to spend some quiet time by the Christmas tree.  Getting up early is drastically easier when a Christmas tree is waiting for you in the other room.  As I sat in stillness, I started talking to the Lord about these beautiful words.

A thrill of hope
the weary world rejoices

I kept whispering them, over and over, and found myself stuck on that word thrill. I want to experience the thrill of hope.  I want to truly rejoice knowing this weary world has been given salvation and knowing this world is not my home.

The past few weeks have brought lots of thrills, each of them great gifts from the Lord.

I have been thrilled by Andrew's round face crouched low to the ground as he watches the toy train come around the tree.  I have been thrilled watching him start walking around the house, particularly when he's rocking his elf pajamas (see below-you won't be disappointed).

I've been thrilled by Charlotte's excitement to open each advent envelope and her persistence in memorizing her first Scripture.  I've been thrilled by her dramatization of the Nativity with baby Jesus up on the roof and the three wise men who "don't start in the stable.  They have to start in the kitchen and make a long trip."

I've been thrilled by the excitement and teamwork of our staff who turned our school into the North Pole for a Family Night that packed the house and even included a live reindeer.

I've been thrilled by Secret Santa surprises. (I love surprises!)

I've been thrilled by a night of talking and laughing with friends as we lugged our children around the Holiday Light Festival at the zoo.

Spectacular dinners never cease to thrill me, and to my fortune, there have been a number of those too.

I've even been thrilled by our ten-year wedding anniversary last week and a sparkly gift from Stephen that most certainly cost far more than I want to know about, but I willingly accepted. 

I imagine Jesus loves seeing me get excited about these because each is a gift from Him, and I am grateful.

But I am also weary.

My own little life wears me out sometimes.  Kids exhaust me, teaching is hard work, and managing a home never ends.  Satan is constantly throwing lies in my face, and I keep fighting to believe God's grace really is sufficient.

I also get weary from the terror and heartache of the world. I feel weighed down, scared and sometimes paralyzed by tragedies like the church shooting in South Carolina and the bombing in Paris.  In just the past few months, I've ached with a friend who lost her unborn baby and prayed alongside a friend whose mother was diagnosed with cancer.  I attended the funeral of a former student and watched two young boys pulled from a home filled with abuse.  

Oh Jesus, we are a weary world, looking desperately for a real reason to rejoice.

 The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the work of the devil. 
1 John 3:8

Oh man Lord, every bit of me that loves a victory for the underdog wants to jump up and down when I read this verse.  I know You're not the underdog, but sometimes I feel like it. Sometimes I feel like our team is losing.  The weariness gets to me. 

Today Jesus, I want to be thrilled by hope - thrilled by the brilliant truth that God has come to earth to destroy the work of the devil - thrilled to know that victory is here.

I love the Christmas season for the same reasons everyone does.  I love the music, the movies, the food, the gatherings, the traditions, the beauty of it all.  But Jesus, I pray all of these fade into the background, taking their place as secondary thrills in comparison to what You have done for me.

You are my reason for joy, for peace, for endurance. 

Be my one true thrill.

Shout out to Kate from August and Elm, the Etsy shop where I got this beautiful print!  I love it!

And because I don't want to disappoint you...
 You smiled, right?

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