Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Hope and Peace in a Silent Night

I posted this two Christmases ago, but thought it was worth sharing again this year.

Nashville is known as a "ten year" town, which is on average about how long (and sometimes longer) it takes to become a success in the music industry. People at home watching the various music awards shows have no idea that most of the nominees and winners of the "Best New Artist" category are far from being "new" in their careers. If viewers could see all the years of hard work that have led up to that point for these artists, they would wonder, "Why am I just now hearing about them?"

I work with a lot of people who have hopes of making a career out of the talents with which they have been blessed. They work hard in the hopes that today will be the day they will receive the break they need, but another day passes and no break. No calls from "the right people." Just silence, often leading to weariness instead of peace.

We are in the thick of a season that reminds us of the Hope and Peace we can have amid the weariness and discouragement we often experience in this world. There is a blog I read this week that I thought was so timely and I want to share it here in the anticipation that it will bring some hope and peace to those from all walks of life who are still waiting for their "big break."

How Does a Weary World Rejoice?
by SaraBeth Fentress
It was anything but a silent night if you think about it. The silence happened during the 400 years before the “Silent Night” that we sing about each December—the time between the end of the book of Malachi and the birth of Jesus.
Not a word from God. Zilch.
Sure, God was working during this time – setting the stage for the fulfillment of His plan on Calvary. However, there is no record of prophecy or inspired communication during this time.
Four hundred years, approximately 18 generations, of silence. Those were the silent nights. Even during the times where it seemed God had forgotten, He was orchestrating things for good.
Can you imagine the conversations around the dinner table roundabout Generation #14? They must have thought their ancestors were sorely mistaken about the Messiah coming. Their hope must have dwindled. They had probably grown tired and weary living off of the hope of the previous generations.
So 400 years later and, literally, it is not a silent night.
A teenager gives birth without an epidural. Not silent.
Sharing a labor and delivery room with cows and donkeys. Not silent.
Arguing with a fiancé about the lodging options. Not silent.
Nine months pregnant while riding a donkey for 70 miles. Not silent.
Newborn baby. Not silent.
Spiritually, it was even louder, though!
Four hundred years of silence broken with the fulfilled promise of a Savior. Sometimes God breaks through in the most powerful way after a long period of silence. Generation #18 has an “a-ha moment.” Hope has been restored.
“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” —“O Holy Night”
We still live in a weary world.
Some of us are drained because it feels like God hasn’t spoken to us in 18 generations. Silence. Brokenness. Unmet expectations. Busyness. Grief. Addiction. Emptiness. Bitterness. Depression.
We are weary.
When God seems silent, it is easy to lose the thrill of Hope. It seems this time of year oftentimes magnifies the awareness of the weary world in which we live. What can sustain us during times like these? Hope.
We must hide God’s word in our hearts so that when we feel the weight of the weary world, we can rejoice in what we know to be Truth. God is at work, even when we can’t see it. He has a plan that He is working out for His Glory.
We can have hope that God is not surprised by our circumstances. We can have hope that regardless of what we have been through, it will be redeemed in God’s perfect timing.
As long as we have hope, we can rejoice—even in the midst of the weary world. 
Merry Christmas!

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