Reminder: the Sharp Devotionals go all the way to Epiphany, January 6th, and then some!
Reader: “Shout to the Lord, all the earth;”
Response: “break out in praise and sing for joy! ”
Scripture: Psalm 98
Sing a new song to the Lord,
for he has done wonderful deeds.
His right hand has won a mighty victory;
his holy arm has shown his saving power!
The Lord has announced his victory
and has revealed his righteousness to every nation!
He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel.
The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth;
break out in praise and sing for joy!
Sing your praise to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song,
with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn.
Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the earth and all living things join in.
Let the rivers clap their hands in glee!
Let the hills sing out their songs of joy
before the Lord,
for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
and the nations with fairness.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
On this glorious Christmas day this psalm helps us grasp the magnificent scope of our celebration. Put yourself back in those days of Israel. For those who recognized what had happened, God had actually arrived. He was faithful to Israel after centuries of longing! It was truly a “new song” for certain! And the Child had come for all nations.
One of the major forms of praise is singing, which can express great joy! The psalmist urges us to voice our praise with voice and instrument, to make a symphony of sound! Sometimes we may be inclined to think that only humans can voice praise to God. Again, the psalmist reminds us that the birth of the Messiah and his coming restoration was not only of human beings but of all creation. The crashing of ocean waves and breaching whales create their own spectacular music. We never tire of watching. If you have ever been near the rapids of a river, or stood by a massive waterfall, you can’t help but sense the “rejoicing” of the water. Do hills sing? Even apart from “the hills are alive with the sound of music”(!), anytime you have ever walked in a meadow in the early morning or sat at the top of a hill for an extended period of time, you will hear music of a different sort,
God’s creation singing its song of praise. The psalmist concludes with the powerful reminder that God is coming to earth again to judge the world with justice and he will treat all nations with fairness. In these days when justice is of great concern, we are reminded that God is the ultimate judge and that he alone is the arbiter of fairness. This may seem a bit of an odd passage and comments for a Christmas Day, but it is a reminder of the massive scope of the significance of Jesus’ birth which impacts everything on earth and in the heavens. Christmas is not a one day event from the historical past. It is a miraculous day which impacts everything forever!
Music: “On Christmas Night All Christians Sing” The Brits again!
Bonuses! (I’ve taken the liberty to add some bonus music, including some wonderful settings of a few secular classics.)
“Good Christian Men, Rejoice” King’s College Choir
“I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In” Blackmore’s Night
“Good Christian Men, Rejoice” Wissmann family
Glory be to thee, O Christ, whose praises the angels sing, whom the heights of heaven adore. In the miracle of thy stable-birth and in the mystery of thine incarnation thy people everywhere rejoice this day. To thy name help us to bow the knee and all its worshipping, bow the head and all its thinking, bow the will and all its choosing, bow the heart and all its loving.
Glory be to thee, O Father, who by the birth of thy Son didst give a great light to dawn on the world’s darkness. Glory be to thee, O Holy Spirit, who hast, again in these days, hung forth a star in the lowly heaven of every Christian soul and seekest to lead us in the ways of humility and the paths of peace. Blessed be God, the only God: three persons in one eternity of love. Blessed be God for all that he is. Blessed be God for all that he has done. Blessed in his Church on earth and blessed in the height of heaven.
Grant, O Father, that we who celebrate his nativity with deep devotion may also find the day of judgment a day of mercy. Lord Jesus Christ, born colored and poor, welcomed by working men and kings, come to our world and heal our deep divisions, that we may be not white and black, male and female, employer and employed, but the children of God, seeing you, our Lord in one another. All glory to you, great God, for the gift of your Son, light in darkness and hope of the world, whom you have sent to save mankind. With singing angels, let us praise your name, and tell the earth his story, so that men may believe, rejoice, and bow down, acknowledging your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. ―from Prayers for Sunday Services, Edinburg, p.74