Advent Devotional-December 18

December 18

Psalm 98

Christmas is almost here and the city is full of noises—carols over the loudspeakers in the stores, horns honking in the parking lot and the chatter of crowded sidewalks. Typically, in the holiday season, I seek out moments of peace and quiet reflection in the hustle and chaos of our preparations. In fact, when I think of a daily advent devotional, I envision a few moments of silence between the baking and the shopping and the wrapping and the card writing. But as I read Psalm 98, one verse stands out.

 

Perhaps it is because we memorized it during those early years of Sunday School as a child: “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” (KJV). The whole passage, and especially this verse, reminds me of one of my favorite Disney scenes: the opening minutes of The Lion King. As the sun peaks over the horizon, the entire animal kingdom wakes up to see their new king. Slowly and gradually, the birds, the ants, the antelope, the giraffes, the elephants, the zebras, and the cheetahs parade towards the rock where the new king will be introduced. The music builds and builds and builds until the spectacular moment when the baby lion is revealed. Isn’t that what Christmas should sound like? Thunderous, majestic, powerful and soul-stirring happiness.

 

Many elements of the holiday bring us joy—spending time with family, enjoying delicious homemade meals and waking up on Christmas morning to open our presents. But perhaps the greatest joy is the truth about the meaning of this day: our Savior has arrived.

 

Psalm 98 provided part of the inspiration for Isaac Watts when he penned what would become a Christmas favorite: “Joy to the World”


Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.


 

The entire earth joins with the heavens in expressing the joy of welcoming a new King. The New International Version reads, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music.” Burst into jubilant song– Wow! That is a pretty powerful instruction! Isn’t that really the kind of joy that Christmas is about? The kind of joy that makes you feel like you might burst at the seams? The kind of exuberance and bliss that makes you want to climb to a mountaintop and sing at the top of your lungs? Consider the amazing joy of this season and spend your devotional moment today not in quiet reflection but in jubilant song.

 

Laura Lee

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