Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Thrill of Hope...

 A Thrill of Hope…The Weary World Rejoices


You probably thought this would be a post about the COVID-19 vaccine. 

No. It is far more serious. More serious than death you ask? I know the virus is life threatening. A vaccine is celebrated. I totally agree. COVID-19 makes people ill. And it kills.


The promise of a vaccine fills us with hope that this awful virus will be eradicated. Okay, at least slowed down. And weary world? Definitely. We are all weary of 2020. They call it quarantine fatigue. I get it. But that is not the weary world of which I speak.


 “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices” comes from a Christmas carol called O Holy Night. The song was penned in 1847. It is about a lost world. A world condemned. A world that is sick. Tired. Weary. A world without hope. 


A world without Jesus.


I’ve discovered so many people, despite what they think or believe, celebrate Christmas. They sing the songs and display nativity sets on the hall table. But so you know, nowhere does the word “Christmas” appear in the Bible. Seriously. In fact, we don’t have all of the particulars about the exact day and time of the birth of Jesus.


What is very clear, however, is that Jesus, the Messiah, is the subject of the Bible from the first book of God’s Word (appropriately named Genesis because it is the beginning) to the very last book of the Bible, Revelation, which means to reveal. 


We are a weary world. We cling to the promise of healing. We hold to hope.


There are people who read my blog who actually question the Bible and have openly questioned me about what I believe and why I believe it. 


Actually, it isn’t what I think that counts. Make your own call. The decision is and always has been yours. I simply ask you make an informed decision.


View the Bible as you might regard eyewitness testimony in a courtroom. Read it for yourself. Not hearsay. Not what others have told you they think, read the book for yourself. 


Not sure where to start? Three easy steps to get you started:


1)        Choose a translation instead of a paraphrase of the Bible. I usually read the New International Version. You can read the book online if you don’t have a copy on hand.


2)        The Bible has two divisions (with 400 years in between). The first division is the Old Testament. The second is called the New Testament. I suggest you start with one of the four Gospels. (Gospel means “good news” by the way.) The Gospels are the first four books of the New Testament. Each of them chronicles the life of Jesus for the thirty-three years he was here on earth. Think of each as a sort of resume. An overview. A biography. Choose one:


a) If you are a history buff or have connection to the Jewish community, start with Matthew.  You’ll appreciate the references to the Jewish culture, Hebrew writings, and the lineage of Jesus. 


            b) More of a short story person? Take a gander at Mark. You can literally read through the entire book on a flight from New York to L.A. 


            c) Like research and answers based on evidence? Then Luke is the book for you. The author had a scientific mind. He was a physician. He was something of a qualitative researcher, interviewing people and collecting data then putting it together chronologically.


            d) Perhaps your psychological/sociological brain needs to understand the underlying story with emotions and motivations. John is a beautiful book to touch your soul. 


Eventually, you’ll want to read all four gospels. But start with the one that speaks to the person God made you to be.


My morning B&B
(Breakfast and Bible)
3)        Once you’ve read one of the gospels, read the book of Acts. This chronicles the Acts of the Apostles of Jesus. They didn’t always get it right, but I like that. I don’t always get it right, either. 


There is so much more I could share. But by now you’re wondering why I chose to write this now. 


It’s Christmas. It’s all about giving and receiving, right? The Bible is a gift you can open now and enjoy forever.


By the way, did you know if you averaged reading fifteen minutes a day every day you could read through the Bible in one year? The whole Bible… from Genesis to Revelation. It’s true. So this isn’t simply for Christmas. Maybe it’s a New Year Resolution, too.


Let me know if you’re willing to take the challenge. I’ll happily send you the next steps on this reading journey. 

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