From Creation’s first breath, we are reminded through the poetry of the Psalms that every single part of life imagined, formed, and spoken into being by God is imbued with the capacity to respond to God in praise. Not only can everything praise God, but according to Psalm 148, everything in creation is called to do so. Praise of the Lord is not an option for creation but is creation’s innate expression of gratitude and awe for having been created at all.
Praise of God is essential to our living as God created us to live. Praise resides in our DNA, and, like breath, is a life-giving force of our nature by which we remain in ongoing communion with God beyond our consciousness or control. Like breath, praise enters our spirits as we take in the wonders that God places around us, and praise leaves our hearts as we respond to the mysteries and beauty of God.
And if we ever begin to walk down the thorny path of human self-importance, believing ourselves to be the most significant source of praise, the psalmist’s words remind us that our praise is but a refrain in the chorus of all creation. Long before we found our voice, all of heaven and earth was already singing praise to the Lord. Stars, moon, and sun; mountains, hills, and oceans; “creeping things,” fish, and birds—even the trees from which birds sing have been sharing the magnificent inhale and exhale of praise since the beginning of time.
Let us remember that the chorus of praise on the night of Jesus’ birth, from all heaven and earth, did not begin then, but welled up at the beginning of creation and continues as we now join our voices for all time.
O Lord of heaven and earth, of sweeping wind and falling stars, teach me to listen and notice; teach me to sing and be silent. I long to praise you with my whole being. Amen.
The boy Samuel worshiped and served God from a young age. He grows in stature and favor, the same description that will later be applied to the young Jesus in this week’s reading from Luke. The psalmist praises God for raising up a “horn” for the people. This “horn” is referred to elsewhere in the Psalms as being the True King from the line of David, identified later by Luke (1:69) as Jesus. Paul encourages the Colossians to let love rule in their community and to praise God with songs and hymns (such as the Psalms). The additional readings for this special week focus our minds on the Advent of the Lord, the amazing truth that “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14), as the prophets had prophesied long ago.
• Read Isaiah 9:2-7. Where in your world do you see darkness? What lies within your power to dispel it?
• Read Psalm 148. How have you witnessed creation praising the Creator?
• Read Colossians 3:12-17. With what qualities from this list do you clothe yourself daily?
• Read Luke 2:41-52. When has a not-as-usual occurrence generated anxiety in your life? How was it resolved?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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