Hopes and fears
What’s your favorite Christmas carol? Maybe Silent Night? Or O Holy Night? Do you ever find yourself being captivated by a simple phrase from one of the timeless classic carols? It happened to me this week.
The words came wafting out of my truck speakers, “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.” It’s the end of verse 1 of the carol, “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” That song was written shortly after the Civil War by an Episcopal priest named Philips Brooks. And the lyrics are compelling.
The phrase about hopes and fears caught my attention because I hear people expressing their fears on a daily basis. Fears about job security (can you say “government shutdown”?). Fears for safety in their neighborhoods. Fears about health problems. Fears about children who are making bad choices. Fears about student debt. Fears about the political direction of our nation. Fears about racial strife and tension. Fears about marriages that are teetering on the brink of destruction.
The songwriter says that hopes and fears are met in Christ. The hope of the nations. The hope of the disenfranchised. The hope of the homeless and the helpless. The hope of the addict and the abused. The hope of the lonely and the left behind. The hope of all the years of all the people. Including you. What are you truly hoping for this year?
As you finish your last minute preparations for Christmas, let that phrase echo in your mind.
“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”
Every hope will be met. Every fear will be conquered. In the words of the angel:
Fear not! I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:10-11
Our deepest hopes are met only in the Messiah. To be loved for who we are. To be valued for who we are. To be known at the deepest level. To be forgiven for the secret and shameful past. To be gifted and called for a life that matters. All these hopes and more are met in Jesus.
If you know someone who’s dealing with fear, or whose hopes are dwindling, be sure to share the earth-shattering good news that the angel proclaimed. And while you’re at it, why not invite them to join you for a Christmas Eve gathering at Seneca Creek. You can get the details here.