I must admit, this year’s calendar has made me feel a bit schizophrenic.
On the one hand, my family is in town for the Thanksgiving holidays. As I type this, my wife is putting together casseroles while, my kids are being distracted and spoiled by their loving grandparents. I’m supposed to be in full-fledged thanksgiving mode, considering all the gifts that have been lavished upon me, consuming some of the most edible and enjoyable (and probably pumpkin-flavored) of those gifts, and reaching the status of near hibernation as Tony Romo competes for a leg of turducken between Black Friday commercials.
On the other hand, I’m thinking a lot about hope. You see, hope one of the themes of Advent, the season of waiting and preparation for Christmas that we start this Sunday. Even before the first dose of tryptophan has entered into my bloodstream, I’m already entering into a Christmas mindset (and I’m not just talking about the Amy Grant Christmas music that’s been competing for airplay in our home…talk about a “War on Christmas”!!!).
Hope is a tricky thing. It’s about as elusive to define as it is to have and to hold.
Poet Emily Dickinson once wrote that “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers,’ elusive, fleeting, once perched but mostly just out of reach.
As I’m stuck in this in-between time, my mind being simultaneously occupied by the satisfaction of Thanksgiving and the craving, yearning of Advent, I’ve lifted my moratorium on Christmas music a bit earlier than usual. Some Christmas tunes are real treasures (I’m not counting Christmas Shoes or anything from a young JT). They tell us quite a bit about hope, love, joy, and peace.
I was particularly struck by one of my favorites, a song I’ve listened to hundreds of times, O Holy Night.
Here Josh sings before he and Skylar trade vocals:
“The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
Of all the ways I tend to think about hope, I don’t think I’d generally think of its thrill, the sort of energy that comes with hope.
This week we’ll explore a passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
What are some of your favorite songs of hope? What do they teach you about hope?