“A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices”

   Even though our holiday gatherings may look a little different this year due to the global pandemic, we can still hold on to some of our beloved Christmas traditions. We can hold on to the messages underlying those traditions and place all of our trust there. The ritual of lighting the advent candles and decorating our homes signifies that we are getting ready. As we inch closer, we are getting ready to receive the   greatest gift, to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  I don’t know about you, but I think a time of celebration, a world-wide one, is quite overdue this year. Haven’t we all, in our own ways, been seeking the themes of Advent all year long—love, joy, peace and hope.

   I have felt shaken about in God’s great snow globe, awoken to the new landscape of things, unfamiliar scenery and have been affected by fears and isolation. Being in the dark on so many different levels, I have felt the need to keep in the forefront of my mind that the Light is present in our world and allow that Light to guide my path. 

   In these somewhat dark moments, I have found that it has been the exact right time to praise God. There has been so much beauty found in slowing down, my own priorities have shifted as well and I’ve been able to pull back from a seemingly hectic pace which wasn’t very lifegiving. I have found many unexpected blessings in getting creative and being intentional and being still. 

   I have been contemplating about “The Star of Bethlehem”. With only a few other shepherds scattered about, in a pitch black field, in the middle of nowhere -they looked up to the night sky. Punctuated by only a few stars, placed by God since creation, an Angel of the Lord appeared and announced,  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” A multitude of heavenly hosts praised and glorified God, the Light entered the world and the light entered their hearts. The Light that would guide their way and still guides mine some 2,000 years later.  When you look up in the night sky this December 21, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the “Star of Bethlehem”, take a moment to feel in your heart, that so many others will be doing the same thing. Feel that connection to one another, connected by the Light of the World.

   Isn’t this a much needed message for 2020— A thrill of hope; a weary world rejoices. 

To you and yours, I wish you a very blessed Merry Christmas!!!

Theresa McHugh