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'A Thrill of Hope'

Only Jesus has the power to push back the darkness.

Introduction

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but we’re going through a season of change. Maybe you’ve felt it, the leaves falling off the trees. It’s colder now. Perhaps you’ve had to scrape ice from your windshield this morning. We’ve been through Thanksgiving. We’ve been through Black Friday. We’re moving into the Advent season. Of course, Christmas season unofficially began at the department stores before Halloween.

But, even during Advent season, perhaps you’ve noticed the shift. Along with that shift comes all of the Christmas music that you could ever want to hear. You hear it when you go to the mall or the clothing store or the department store. You hear it when you turn on the radio over and over again. You hear it when you stream music through your app.

It’s not just Christmas carols. It’s also secular music which is a multi-billion-dollar industry. In fact, in the year 2012, the BBC published a documentary that was called, “The World’s Top Ten Richest Songs.” These were the highest grossing songs in the world. Did you know that three of the top ten highest grossing songs in the world are Christmas songs? Here’s one of them.

Back in the year 1934 a publisher in New York City approached a lyricist by the name of Haven Gillespie and said to Gillespie, “You know, I think that you have a vocabulary that children can understand,” which I don’t think really is a complement. He went on to say, “I’d like you to write a Christmas song.”

So Gillespie sits down with his collaborator J. Fred Coots. He writes down some lyrics on the back of an envelope. It takes him about 15 minutes. It takes his ...

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Jared E. Alcántara is an Associate Professor of Preaching and holds the Paul W. Powell Endowed Chair in Preaching at Truett Seminary in Waco, Texas. His latest book is "The Practices of Christian Preaching: Essentials for Effective Proclamation." Follow him on Twitter or Instagram @jaredealcantara.

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