A Thrill of Hope for a Weary World {My Plan for Advent}


Friends, these Christmas hymns embed themselves deep within me every time I sing them. And I’m being ripped apart this year, shedding raw truth in verses penned long ago.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to share my thoughts with you. They seem all over the place as only phrases are clinging to my soul…one stanza at a time from a variety of hymns.

I can’t make sense of it, but that’s okay. For now. Maybe all He wants me to do is keep trusting it will work itself out.

So that’s what I intend to do this Advent Season.

Instead of sharing my thoughts on the passages I’m reading for Advent, or what I’m gleaming from the services at church,
I’ll shed the burning in my heart.
One hymn’s stanza at a time.
Starting today.

It’s this line from “O Holy Night” that will not leave me:

“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices…”

And my raw thoughts:

If I were a pessimist, I’d laugh at the thought of simply a thrill of hope reviving praise. For a ‘thrill’ isn’t necessarily proof.

But it was more than they’d ever been given.

And you and I have no idea what that feels like.

{Which should cause us to rejoice even more.}

We’ve been tired, yes. Some of us have even toyed with true weariness. But living without the promise of hope not yet fulfilled? We have no clue.

From the time it was uttered (in Isaiah and in Jeremiah), it took over 600 years for God’s promise of a Messiah to come true, if I remember my theology correctly.

I’d like to think my heart would have fluttered if I had heard it was now a reality. But I’m not so sure…

Would I have accused another of crying wolf? If the angel didn’t appear directly to me, would I have believed the one who told me?

Sometimes I wonder if that’s why the angel selected shepherds. They would have had nothing to gain by telling a lie and I can’t see them crying wolf. I like to think I would have believed them.

I wonder if the key here is that they rejoiced at the very mention of a Messiah instead of cowering in fear over the rhelm of glory they were witnessing…

I’ve been pondering this and yet it’s a moot point.
Because I don’t have to wait for salvation.
Hope was given to me before my conception.

The thrill is offered to me each new morn. Yet I wonder…

Do I rejoice even when weary?

Do I run to be with Him? Just for a glimpse of His face…

Do I live out the hope I’ve been given?

I wonder…

And there’s no time like this Advent Season to make sure I can say ‘yes’!

Friends, today…I’m going to live in the hope gifted to me that O Holy Night. Will you join me?

How about you, friend? Do you feel the thrill of hope? How do you rejoice? I’d love to hear. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,


36 thoughts on “A Thrill of Hope for a Weary World {My Plan for Advent}

  1. Loved this. I’ve been struggling my focus this Christmas, and want to be intentional about finding joy in the midst of so much weariness this year. YouVersion has an Advent reading plan built around carols that my son and I are doing nightly. It’s really neat. Looking forward to reading more of your random thoughts! 🙂

    • Nancy — thank you for filling me in on the YouVersion Advent! I’m going to check it out right now…it sounds right up my alley. thank you! (and I love that you are reading it with your son…)

  2. This – “O Holy Night” – is my most favorite Christmas song… and yes, as no surprise to you – it is this particular line that stirs me every time! A Thrill of Hope… is that not what we all need, what we are all searching for… whether we are weary or not (but who among us is not – from time to time?). Thrill means to cause to experience a sudden sharp feeling of excitement… and isn’t there always a cutting away… a sharp, catch-your-breath kind of moment when we see – really see – that He has come!

    • Oh friend…we should have written this post together! I love your thoughts. I read them earlier and am still soaking them in…thank you, friend. for sharing with me. for helping me catch my breath…

  3. Hi dear Nikki
    I don’t doubt for a moment that your heart is always filled with wonder and love for your Saviour. Just the fact that you are wondering, is such proof that our Pappa is doing something new in your heart. Perhaps He is creating a stronger desire and longing to enter into new levels of His love!! Perhaps your heart is experiencing its own Holy Night.
    Much loveXX

    • Mia, you bless me so. For the record: I don’t deserve you. ; )
      I don’t doubt for one minute He is priming me for something big. His love has taken me farther than I ever dared dream…still I’m learning to not get in the way. thank you for sharing with me, friend.

  4. I do feel the thrill of hope, and I do rejoice, most of the time. I am an optimist so I dare say it’s somewhat a more *natural* response for me… I love that you are doing this, and I love your heart and intention behind this. You, my friend, are a most beautiful soul. I love you dearly.

    • I love your beautiful soul, friend.
      My hubby and I were talking about this tonight…this urge to do more. love more. just downright get more of Jesus. I’m an optimist too, so I’m going after it ; )

  5. Nikki, maybe you’ll be able to write your own hymn someday. I have a sneaking suspicion that you would be good at it. Wonderful, thoughtful questions that encourage my soul girl. I’m thankful for you today. ~ Love out, Amy

    • Dearest Amy, you know me better than we both realized…(between you and me, I have a journal filled with them! I wouldn’t dare call them hymns…but they are my heart in my attempt at lyrical form. One day maybe God will make that dream a reality. But for now, I’m enjoying sharing them with Him alone.) thank you for always encouraging, friend. Love much! ~Nikki

  6. i think “o Holy Night” is my favorite Christmas song. So much truth in the words. as for me…I’m wrestling with faith right now. Maybe it’s because I’ve been saved for 24years,or if its just that I feel like I’m chasing my tail…but lots of questions are rolling around my head of late. Advent makes me stop and think about Jesus. Not “religion” or even my belief…just my king. loving you!

    • I had to read this 3 times, Shannon. And I’m so glad you wrote more on it over at your place because it would take a few more blog posts for me to share my thoughts around your loving heart.
      I’m honored to know you. and am with you on simply loving our King…

      • after i commented i thought ‘i need to elaborate” 🙂 thanks for helping HIM stretch me! 🙂 and stop making me blush hehe. you bless me!

  7. Through the gift of Ann’s writings…I have found such freedom from counting…from finding His love in the most unlovely places…and here I am still learning to rejoice…though weary…and isn’t the the hope the world needs to see…not the slap happy rejoicing when the world spins our way…but the deep abiding joy even when things go sideways…and I love this hymn…just beautiful~

    • Exactly, Ro… He’s the same in good and bad. in slap happy and in weary…He never changes.
      That’s the Good News right there, friend.
      and I feel like shouting “Repeat the sounding joy!” (which will be another blog post soon cuz we need to tell more about it!)

  8. May I be honest today and say that I sometimes struggle with rejoicing when weary? Those are the moments when I end up flat on my face before Him. Knowing that He is my source. Sometimes even too weary for words. It doesn’t happen often, but I know that when it does I hobble to Him knowing that He is there ready to catch me…ready to hear what I cannot put into words. I do love your heart my sweet friend. Much love.

    • I’m so glad you said this, Wendy. Because your smile is so contagious I can’t imagine where weary fits in. Oh, but now I see…He always fits and fills in…
      Your heart sparkles, friend. I’m honored to know you.

  9. I never get tired of listening to the old Christmas hymns and O Holy Night is my favorite. What a glorious night it must have been and how I love to imagine what it was like when the shepherds heard the angels singing. I think I would have dropped everything and took off running to see the Christ child. God would have had to take over the watch of my sheep for I would have only had eyes for the precious lamb of God lying in a manger. What a privilege and what a blessing. Wow! it takes my breath away! Love and hugs to you, Nikki

    • Oh I love this, Joy! I kinda wonder if I would have been frozen, excited to hear more singing and would have missed my cue to start running! ack! I’m striving, friend…I’m striving…
      Love and hugs right back to you!

  10. Pingback: In Need of A KING «

  11. Do I feel the thrill of Hope. . . do I see His face, His hands cupping mine? Do I begin and end my day with my heart awakened to realize a fragment of understanding for all that He’s done? Oh, Father, I pray, awaken me more. Let me be fully alive to the fullness of Your hope. Let me not take all that You’ve given for granted. Keep me yearning for more of You. . .So blessed by your heart, Nikki. Thank you.

  12. Oh friend, I’ve been struggling to find that “thrill of hope” this week. I’m clinging — to faith, to hope, to His promises. I must remember that hope was given to me as a gift before I was ever created. You continually cause my heart to stop and ponder. Thank you my friend.

    • Love that you know how to cling, Barbie. Love that. It’s an acquired skill and girl–you’ve got skills.

      Thank you for sharing with me, friend.
      Father, breathe hope into my friend Barbie tonight. Renew her steadfast spirit. Revive that bounce in her step. Lord, take her dancing…to You be all glory as we move to the thrill of hope…

  13. Sometimes, I am one of “the weary world” — when the days go on and on with no relief of my burdens in sight. I feel myself bone weary, discouraged. Then, I somehow experience, with more than sight, little birds bathing merrily in the gutter or a particularly colorful sunset, and my breath catches in my throat as a thrill of hope and wonder in the magnificence of God. I breathe His gentle reassurances in and, just as the hymn continues, “for yonder breaks a clear and glorious morn.” (((Hugs))) to you, Nikki.

    • You speak of this so poetically, Peg. As I’ve come to expect from you : )
      yes…you get it.
      and I’ve been trying to comment on your post all day but WordPress is being silly for me. Sorry! Big hugs to you, friend!

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  15. thrill of hope the weary world rejoices…you, my friend, have written a lovely post. Yes, I rejoice because while I am weary and I believe the WORLD is weary, I KNOW who is in control. I know who holds my hand. I know who guides the stars. I know that I have reason to rejoice. And rejoice, I shall.

    Thank you, Nikki…

  16. Nikki, I have so many ideas sparked just from what you’ve written here:) I’m picking this one: We have the thrill of hope because of His incomprehensible love for us….amazing! Rejoicing does not come naturally to me, especially when I’m weary, but I am so grateful that God has directed my steps to change that over this past year. As Ann would say, I practicing until it becomes as natural as breathing.

    • YAY! just what I was hoping for! most people come up with better ideas than me, would love to hear more of your thoughts because this one… (something tells me you did amazing in church speaking about just this, friend…) HUGS to you!!

  17. Pingback: In Need of A KING | choikos

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