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‘The thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices’
The magic of this line, from O Holy Night, moved me to tears the other night. I was sitting up late, at my desk, quadruple-checking the subtitles for The Big Church Sing – Christmas Special (which aired on Advent Sunday – if you missed it, you can catch up here). Incidentally, if you do spot a spelling mistake in the subtitles – kindly keep it to yourself!
I think my tears flowed from the realisation of what Christmas is about – what it really means in 2020. It certainly feels like a ‘weary world’, as our global community has grappled with so much this year. And yet, the hope of Christmas comes. Amongst all the confusion of a world crippled by coronavirus, all the weariness of lockdowns and restrictions, and at the end of a year in which the world has come face-to-face with its own institutional racism, again…amongst all that – God comes.
The Big Church Sing was a real pleasure to work on, as we brought together contributions from musicians and artists including Lucy Grimble, The Belfast Community Gospel Choir, Libera boys choir, OneSound and the National Methodist Choir. Alongside all this Christmassy music was a nativity, narrated by the incredible Gemma Hunt from CBeebies and Songs of Praise, with the other parts played by the delightful children from Wakefield Methodist Primary School. Lots of festive fun to enjoy!
What I enjoyed most about The Big Church Sing, however, was the flood of hopeful comments coming through on social media, my inbox, and my phone in the hours immediately after it went live. If nothing else, The Big Church Sing was hopeful – it highlighted the joy and the possibility that comes with the Christmas season. As we sang together, and are still singing now with the thousands of people tuning in after the event, many people clearly felt (and still feel!) that ‘thrill of hope’.
If you missed The Big Church Sing, you can catch up with it throughout the Advent and Christmas season. We also hope that you’ll share its hope-filled message with your friends, family and church community – perhaps with someone you know who needs a bit of hope right now? You can also catch up with the BIG Christmas Party on All We Can’s YouTube and Facebook pages for games, quizzes and live guests – and you might catch a glimpse of yours truly getting into the festive spirit!
Hope lives on, God comes amongst us – and that certainly thrills me!
Tim works at All We Can as Churches and Volunteers Manager and is based in Yorkshire. In this role, he leads the Churches team, speaks at events and leads worship, helping to raise awareness and support for All We Can's inspiring work. Tim is a lifelong Methodist and spent his younger years in the south Caribbean as part of a family of mission partners.