If you had to choose a word for this season to carry around in your pocket, what would it be? Mine would be rejoicing. That word has its roots in Middle English, meaning “causing joy to.” For me, rejoicing is the result of hope realized.
Sometimes I’m not even aware of the hope, that thing inside I long for, until I find myself rejoicing. I experienced just that many years ago when I was 12. Our family stepped outside following Christmas Eve services, where feather-like snowflakes drifted heavily from the sky. It looked like the angels were having a pillow fight. My siblings and I passed on the car ride home and made the six-block trek on foot instead.
The winter-black sky punctuated with white snow created a wonderful backdrop for the candle-lit windows, along with the colorful lights strung on houses and trees we passed by. But, I, for one, wasn’t prepared for what I saw when we turned off the main road and onto the street where we lived. Both sides lined with luminaria, candles in white bags weighted down with sand, lit up the entire block like an airport runway. At that moment, a feeling welled up inside me that I could only call rejoicing—the result of hope realized.
Over 2,000 years ago, hope was realized with the birth of a baby in a stable. The whole world rejoiced then and continues today. During this holy season, what are your hopes and longings that, if realized, could lead to rejoicing?
Perhaps it’s to recapture traditions that have been interrupted by the pandemic—gathering with friends and family to celebrate, finding all the ingredients for your favorite cookies, or looking out at a White Christmas.