This is a reflection on the fourth week of Advent as we sing in the last week of Advent the O Antiphons into Christmas and celebrate the child in a manger.    There is a beautiful simple phrase within “O Holy Night,” one of my favorite hymns, and I think it really speaks to us today as it did when it was written in the 1840’s “A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn…”

There is a thrill of hope as we reflect on how Jesus has come into our world  “All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”  (Luke 2:19).  Mary kept all that she experienced in this moment of hope. Close to her heart.  And that hope brings us to that glorious morn.

We all belong in this Nativity scene and in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We witness every day death and dying in our world. People suffering in their bodies, hearts and minds.  The world continually reveals the woundedness of humanity.  Yet we come into this time of year as an opportunity for us to take a deep breath of hope, and exhale into 2023 the hope by the lives we live in this moment.

Sometimes, this is all we have is a thrill of hope. It is not a giddy thrill but the depths of  prayer calling us to find hope in the face of pain, violence, sadness. The third verse of “O Holy Night”  “Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is Love and His gospel is Peace…” We may not be able to make the world less weary.  But we can pause long enough to rejoice in this hope, reflect and let it sink deep into our hearts. This hope that gives us courage to be about the ministries and works of mercy and peace, to love one another.

May we continue in hope for peace in our world. 

Sr. Mary Stanco, HM

Executive Director , Women of Providence in Collaboration

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