The Weary World Rejoices

Perhaps you’ve heard the old Christmas hymn, “O Holy Night.” It is a beautiful song that shares the hope and joy that came to the world on the night Jesus was born. The song describes the world as being in a state of waiting, longing, aching and darkness. But when Jesus was born, “the weary world rejoices.”

Weary — a world that had long been waiting for their Messiah, their Savior, the one that would rescue them from their captivity, their fears, their sin, their pain… all those things that exhaust us as humans as we battle against these forces.

The history behind this song is rich. It speaks of the Israelites, God’s chosen people, who had long been awaiting their Messiah to come and rescue them from their bondage and hopelessness. Their waiting would go on for over 400 years, leaving them more than weary. But on the night Jesus was born, that tireless fight ended as the promised one had finally come to make all things right. No wonder there was rejoicing! It’s a beautiful story of hope and longings fulfilled.

When something long awaited, has finally been realized, the celebration is all the greater.

From Weary to Healed

The beautiful people we see come on board our vessels have had a life much like the Israelites. They have been waiting, longing, and hoping for a break from their pain, relief from their suffering, and for a much-desired belonging. Their conditions have left many of them in the darkness of despair and they are weary from their broken dreams of healing.

Yet we’ve seen our patients’ weariness turn to rejoicing as they’ve received free, life-transforming surgeries aboard our ships. From the Celebration of Sight when our patients who once were blind, now can see, to our Dress Ceremony where incontinent women are healed and given a new dress — rejoicing abounds on our ships because hope has finally broken through the despair.

This year we were blessed to see many of our patients receive their long-awaited surgeries and there was much rejoicing. COVID might have delayed the outcome, but it couldn’t stop the hope and healing that would eventually come to these dear people. 

Are you tired this holiday season? Are you weary from your life’s battles? Receive the hope and healing that Jesus offers to you and the whole world. He will take your mourning and turn it into dancing. He will take your sorrows and trade you for joy. He will take your despair and give you a garment of praise. He will take your weariness and replace it with rejoicing!

O Holy Night ~ John Sullivan Dwight ~ 1855

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees, oh, hear the angel voices
O night divine, the night when Christ was born”