The weary world rejoices

O Holy Night is my favourite Christmas carol. I love the middle of the first verse:

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious dawn

‘Weariness’ is the right word for our times. Last week’s trend is now boring. We read the news and roll our eyes. Work is relentless. Relationships are messy. Sin runs deep.

This is a very weary world.


When we’re on our knees with weariness, it’s good to know this ‘thrill of hope’.

There’s a ‘new and glorious dawn’ in Jesus’ birth. He took our sin from us as he died on the cross and rose again.

At Christmas the weary world really can rejoice. But as much as I’ve always loved those words, I’ve often found it hard to rejoice rightly.

A few years ago, I was sitting in church at the midnight Christmas Eve service. There were minutes until Christmas Day, and I knew I wasn’t ready.

In one sense, I was prepared. I’d spent weeks making presents and inviting friends to carol services. I’d wasted time on meaningless preparation without rejoicing in the birth of Jesus for myself.

In a rush of shame, I saw how foolish I’d been. And now it was too late. What could I do at this late hour to worship the King?


Towards the end of the service, the choir performed a version of O Holy Night. This time, the words struck me like never before:

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious dawn
Fall on your knees…

That was the answer. The only thing I could do – the only thing we can ever do in response to the amazing love of our God – is to ‘fall on our knees’.

This time we fall not out of weariness, but out of worship and joy.