The thrill of hope

There is something about being sick that brings out the downer in me.

We had a crap couple of weeks leading up to Christmas. Nothing tragic or remarkable, just those tiny, needling annoyances like a baby coughing at 3am, an ear infection, a little bit of stress and a broken dishwasher.

Thank GOD it didn’t snow. 

I usually really love Christmas. This year, everything seemed like trouble. Getting a tree, wrapping gifts, going to parties. I couldn’t get into it, and it’s my only baby’s first Christmas! Sheesh.

Everyday it was gray (but warm, thank you God) and I dragged myself out of bed and held a coughing baby in one arm and blew the heck out of my nose with the other. Then sit in the bathroom with the shower on hot to steam us both. Everyday seemed to be mucous and popping ears and obsessively taking Bera’s temperature and no energy and definitely no excitement about Christmas.

The day before Christmas Eve I had just one more day of antibiotics. I woke up from a restless night with the other ear hurting, Dan tells me he has to work and the baby projectile vomits all over me and the bed. Not a super fun day.

Christmas Eve was different. Both Bera and I started to magically feel better, so we went to the service at church. I put on actual clothes and actual make-up.  It was seventy glorious degrees and we sang Christmas carols on the sidewalk. There were brass instruments and kids dressed up as shepherds and animals. I didn’t just slowly come out of my funk, I was chased out of it.

I don’t know about you, but every year I feel a little guilty for not thinking about advent more, or reading the right (or any) Scriptures to get my heart ready for Christmas. I always assume I’ll just miss out, since I didn’t do the work. I didn’t prepare (other than ordering stuff on Amazon), so I’ll pay the price of not hearing anything particularly new or wonderful in the Christmas story I’ve heard a million times.

This year, in my funk, I was less prepared than ever. So I was shocked when we sang the often repeated words, “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…” I wanted to shout “YES! THANK YOU!” I felt almost gleeful and excited at this gift and what, oh man, what it must have meant to the ones waiting. 

The relief and the ecstasy- for the sick, their healer – had come. An end to the uncertain waiting, the wondering, the sickness. And not just for the ones waiting then, but for me too. 

Such a rush to get that joy; even though I didn’t do my homework- didn’t read for Advent, didn’t volunteer or do Operation Christmas Child- just moped around and was freely given a taste of the thrill of hope after being weary.


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