Is This What it Looks Like When a Weary World Rejoices?

A blue square with the text "a weary world" in it.

I noticed over Christmas, a lot of people posting the lines, "A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices" from the carol "O Holy Night."

It makes sense.

If there is one way to describe the world today, it's weary. (Oh, are we ever weary.)

And, like something out of a children's story, the vaccine has arrived and begun distribution right around Christmas time.

Which leads me to wonder: where was the thrill of hope? Is this what rejoicing feels like?


It was pretty early in the pandemic that I realized hoping for concrete outcomes was a fool's game. People sent out "change the dates" for their weddings, theatres announced 2020-2021 seasons, friends booked tickets for summer travel, and I thought, "I'll believe it when I see it."

This attitude continued as news of the vaccines came out. I didn't really accept it as true until Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC's Chief Medical Health Officer, said that all British Columbians would have access to the vaccine by fall 2021. She is not a politician nor a corporate overlord--she wouldn't give false promises.

So hope did come, not in a "thrill" but a tentative step, one where you reach your toe in front of you and test your weight on a floorboard before daring to take a real step.

And rejoicing? There has been some of that, too.

I lifted a glass (alone in my apartment) to celebrate when my first family member got the vaccine. Entire medical departments made videos dancing after they were transformed into vaccination clinics. In these moments, the joy is real and creates life within us and around us.

And then the moment passed and not much changed. I, happy for my cousin and all that vaccination represents to me, still felt weary. As, I'm sure, did those nurses, doctors, and technicians who then had to continue their work.

As, I'm sure, do you.

After all, our material reality isn't changing anytime soon. We must still follow precautions. We don't know what will come. Will new strains overcome the vaccine? How many will die in the meantime? What of the poorer countries, unable to stockpile doses while the wealthy nations take more than they need? Will our leaders go into hypercapitalist overdrive to make up for the losses of this time or will we create a gentler world out of this?


There is hope, at least in prospect.

We are weary.

In moments, we rejoice.

And we are still weary.

This may not have been what Placide Cappeau imagined when he wrote those words, but here we are.

An animated gif from the TV show Schitt's Creek of David saying "I'm just feeling very apprehensive about the whole thing."

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