The Thrill of Hope

The thrill of hope. I’ve been seeing that phrase on everything Christmas this year. It’s a marketing slogan for one company. It’s the title of Advent devotionals. Oh. The words are taken from a well known Christmas song “O Holy Night”. We sing it every year, but do we notice the words we’re singing? Do we pay attention to the meaning of the words?

The thrill of hope. What is that?

thrill/THril/noun a sudden feeling of excitement and pleasure.

hope/hōp/noun a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

My dog looks up at me with anticipation. Her tail is wagging faster than a foot can walk. It beats against my leg, as in rhythm with a band only she can hear. It beats so hard and long that I’m surprised she isn’t sore or injured from the constant movement. She’s waiting for her favorite treat. Or for a walk outside. Perhaps she’s longing for a trip to the dog park. She knows the thrill of hope. Hoping that her anticipation will turn into reality.


Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19


It’s December.  The seemingly longest month of the year.  At least in terms of darkness and light.  With the time change in the fall, the days are getting longer.  They’re so long now that it seems we spend more time in the dark than we do in the light.  I drive to work in the dark.  I drive home in the fading sun.  If the sun shines in the morning, the day suddenly seems full of hope.  It brings an anticipation of good things to come.  Until the darkness falls again.

When January turns the corner, I feel hope rising.  I know that by the end of the first month of the new year, the days will begin to lengthen by one minute a day.  Doesn’t seem like much.  One minute.  But that’s 31 minutes by the end of January.  By the end of February, there’s 28 more minutes.  Almost a full hour of light has been added in the darkest of winters.  It brings the thrill of hope that spring is coming.  That spring will show up again as it always does.

God will make a way through the wilderness. He will make a river in the desert. If he can do those things, why not trust him to make a way through your wilderness? Why not trust him to lead you to the river in your dry wasteland? He will, you know. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But God will make a way. He is working for you. Not against you. In his sweet timing and perfect plan, God’s way will shine forth as the dawning day.

The thrill of hope keeps me holding on to the promises God has given. The thrill of hope lets me know that my eternal future is brighter than I can imagine. My hope is in heaven. This life will have trouble, but the thrill of eternal hope moves me forward as I cling to God’s love, forgiveness, grace and mercy.

The thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. ‎–Placide Cappeau

Honor and Kindness

World kindness day was recently celebrated. So I searched for some encouraging phrases about kindness.

  • If you can be anything, be kind.
  • Choose your words wisely.
  • Perform random acts of kindness.
  • Always be a little kinder than necessary.
  • Kindness is free. Let’s pass it on.

These are all great words of wisdom. Words easier said than done. Why is that?

When someone offends me or slows me down, why are my first thoughts to go for the jugular instead of offering a warm hand of understanding. Most people are looking for redemption while withholding it from others. Why is it so difficult to be kind to others when that’s all anyone is looking for in their own moments of failure?

Why is kindness so hard? Why does it seem that we’re being put out if we have to extend a helping hand or apologize? Especially when it’s someone who rubs us the wrong way.

It’s critical that we choose to honor those we disagree with. –John Bevere


What comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart.  Matthew 15:18


It most likely started as a practical joke. A prized possession was missing. If it was taken as a joke, then the joke soon got out of hand. The owner was highly offended. Management got involved. Soon HR was on the scene. The joke had gone too far too fast, without the possibility of being reeled in. The supposed offender did not raise their hand in humility and repentance. They were too embarrassed. What could they say? What would become of them? What type of punishment would be administered?

A week later the offended was still visibly upset. She couldn’t move past the incident. Her inexpensive souvenir was gone. Lost forever. She filed an incident report with Security and building management. I was the key witness. I was the one person who had knowledge of this item’s last whereabouts. A lot of pressure for something that had been blown too far out of proportion.

Now she is making veiled threats if the offender is ever identified. But basically, the truth of what’s in her heart has been identified. The state of her heart has been placed on public display. It isn’t pretty. Retaliation. Vengeance. Bitterness. Hatred. One never would have thought that this behavior would come from her. But what is within becomes outward if the opportunity arises.

Everyone we disagree with bears the image of God. –Greg McNichols

Why is it so easy to lash out at someone rather than take a step back and breathe? 

When someone rubs you the wrong way, just step back. Just for a minute. When you’re in the checkout line and the person checking out has a full cart, just take a breath. Not a noticeable sigh. Pause. Just know that at one time or another, you too have been the cause of someone else’s frustration.

I’m talking to myself here. 

You should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you. Matthew 7:12

I wonder what would happen if I treated everyone the way I wanted to be treated. Sure. I get it. Not everyone wants to be treated the way I do, but I want to be treated kindly.  And fairly. I want others to respect my privacy and my opinion. We don’t have to agree, but we can still get along. 

It sounds like common sense to me, but I’ve come to realize that some aren’t born with common sense. The Bible says that we are only evil all the time. Without God as our guide and compass, we will be unkind. We will treat others unfairly. We will take when we should give. We will undermine the goodness of others. We will steal, kill, cheat and lie. We want to have our way and we want it now.

What will it take to change? What has to happen to get the ugly out of your heart?  Hearts can change. Repentance. Forgiveness. New habits. New attitude. God is in the business of changing hearts. We must be willing.