Grace and Peace to you in the name of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (It’s still Christmas as I type this, but it may be Epiphany by the time you read it…)
Speaking of Christmas, I usually get fixated on part of a Christmas hymn every year and it really focuses me during the season. (I think I’m more of a nerd for hymns than I actually realize, because when a hymn has great theological content, I sing it for days on end.)
This year, it was the first verse of O Holy Night. I offer these words to you and invite you to ruminate on them. I feel that they spoke so well to my Christmas and New Year, and they filled me with such hope.
“O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;”
For me, Christmas was the “thrill of hope” this year; and in some ways, I could feel a “weary world rejoicing”.
Because as we all hope to put the struggles of 2020 behind us, in the coming of 2021 many of us see “yonder breaking a new and glorious morn”.
I know things don’t magically change just because the calendar says it is another year, but these annual markers do mean something. Hello, Holidays, Birthdays, our Liturgical Calendar. We observe things annually because they mean something to us. The reminder of the historical Advent of our Savior (Christmas) and the coming of a new year do mean something to us.
Call me an optimist, but among the things to look forward to in the new year is the Covid vaccine, and the presupposition that it will make this year a little better than the last. Hopefully, it will hasten the day when we can safely gather together in person again and we can celebrate our Savior and the Sacraments side by side.
“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn”
Soli Deo Gloria,