Glory to God in the highest,” proclaim the angels at Jesus’
birth. Birth is always a miraculous event, a happening that
evokes praise for our Creator and brings forth new life.

The angels’ proclamation echoes an ancient Hebrew call to
praise! In today’s passage, the psalmist exhorts all of creation
to “Praise the Lord!” This summons is directed to all rulers,
all people, the sun, the moon, all stars, and all creatures on the
earth. God is to be praised, the psalmist tells us, because God
commanded and through God’s proclamation all were created.

We are called to praise not only with our lips but through
our lives, our words, and our deeds. We live in praise when we
live in gratitude for all that we have received, with reverence for
the sacredness of the whole of creation. We express our reverence
for creation through stewardship of the gift from the One
we praise. We acknowledge and respect each and every thing in
the world that surrounds us. We are created to praise by giving
ourselves to God’s service and walking in holiness all the days
of our lives.

These sentiments sound familiar to our ears. They form a
constant, recurring refrain in our faith communities. Just as the
language of the psalm, from hundreds of years earlier, echoes
in the words of Luke, so did Francis of Assisi sound the theme
hundreds of years after Luke. Today we continue the traditions
and give them new life by singing his words of praise: “All creatures
of our God and King, lift up your voice and with us sing,
O praise ye! Alleluia!” (UMH, no. 62)

God, we praise your holy work. Help us bend our will in reverence to all creation, express gratitude for the life to which you have given birth, and remain dedicated to faithful stewardship in our life among all life. Amen.

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Lectionary Week
December 25–31, 2017
Scripture Overview

Ecstasy over the Christmas miracle binds these passages together with unrestrained joy over what God has done and over who God is. The God whom these texts celebrate is a God who reigns in strength and whose activity on behalf of humankind is timelessly ancient. As worshipers, we join in rejoicing over the coming of the messenger “who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’” (Isa. 52:7). We also celebrate “the LORD, for he is coming to judge the earth . . . with righteousness, and . . . equity” (Ps. 98:9). Then a note of immediacy is struck by the focus on what God has done just now, in these “last days,” in which “he has spoken to us by a Son” (Heb. 1:2). The One who was present at Creation, the eternal Word, “became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14).

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Isaiah 52:7-10. Where do you see signs of God’s peace amid the world’s brokenness?
• Read Psalm 98. Where in your life has a new beginning come most startlingly from an ending?
• Read Hebrews 1:1-12. When you next celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion, re ect on how God has brought healing to your life.
• Read Luke 2:22-40. When have you been surprised by an inbreaking of God’s extraordinary love in an ordinary moment?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.