o holy night, the stars are brightly shining
it is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
long lay the world in sin and error pining
’til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
a thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
so many words stand out to me in this well-loved christmas hymn, but the concept of “weary world” seems to resonate most with me this year as christmas approaches.
it’s not exhaustion from a busy schedule or too many people to see or anything like that – simply a weary heart.
weary from the roller coaster of decisions and changes this past year.
from craving God and not always seeing/hearing Him.
from craving community in a season that does not seem to foster consistency.
from not getting in the Word as deeply as my heart needs, which makes spiritual battles seem more challenging.
the picture given in the song is that the world was pining – longing – and exhausted from the wait.
romans tells us that the world is still weary, in bondage and expectantly waiting for the fulfillment of redemption promises.
for the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. for the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. for we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
ultimately, my weariness – our weariness – is a result of an imperfect world.
rest is temporary, happiness is short-lived, and seemingly ideal circumstances will not satisfy. in light of eternity, all of these things will end, and we will remain weary until we are ultimately redeemed.
i wish i remembered that more – in my moments of longing for different circumstances or more possessions or easier days, i am longing for the wrong thing. none of those things are the answer. they eventually result in longing for more, and exhaustion comes from clinging so tightly to the things i want to bring me contentment and happiness but don’t.
hope cannot be found in our circumstances. even if the circumstances are ordained by God, and i am hoping in what He has for me in the future, i am still placing my hope in something temporary and not in the eternal God.
and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. for in this hope we were saved.
He is the answer to my groaning, just as He is the answer to the world’s groanings. the picture in “o holy night” is that the weary world is brought relief through the birth of Christ. this is where the hope in this song finds its source – the baby born to bring salvation. the weary world is able to rejoice because of the “dawn” brought by Christ’s coming.
as i reflect in this christmas advent season on Christ’s first coming, i want to be reminded of the hope i have in His second coming. i want to look to Him as the answer to my weariness and not to a “hope” in my circumstances changing.
now hope that is seen is not hope. for who hopes for what he sees? but if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
when we can’t see, we can recognize hope. a reason to rejoice in the groaning and the emptiness so often experienced in this world. there is joy in the midst of brokenness when we find that joy in the Savior, in the breaking of a “new and glorious morn.”
merry christmas, dear friends – may you rejoice in the midst of any weariness as you anticipate the coming of Christ.