December 21, 2011

Dec. 21: Praise the Creator

Carina_Zehr

By Carina Zehr, a sophomore environmental science and sociology major from Foosland, Ill.
SCRIPTURE: SCRIPTURE: Psalm 148 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
As I read this passage, considering my busy semester, I asked myself, “At what times have I truly praised God lately?” I seem to be more thankful to God than anything. Yet, the times that I have praised have been wonderful and rejuvenating.

I praised God in community when I sang in the Homecoming hymn sing. As I sang in harmony with an inter-generational group of people, I felt an unexplainable joy. I had this same feeling of joy and wonder as I was walking through the woods and I saw leaves falling off of a massive oak. The leaves seemed to fall with perfect timing, and I knew that because of the complexities of nature never again would I see that exact same sight. I then praised God.

When I was a kid, during Advent my mother would have us light a candle every night and sing Christmas songs in English and Spanish. Over the years, as each one of us has gone our separate ways, this tradition was lost. But at the beginning of this month as I had supper with my family, we sang songs as we had done in the past. My favorite part of one of the songs we sang, which is in Spanish, has, of course, a talking donkey. In the song the man riding the donkey is kicking and urging it towards Bethlehem in order to go and see the Christ child as quickly as possible. The donkey tells the man that there is no need to beat him, as the donkey is as anxious as he is to go to Bethlehem.

I urge each one of you this week to praise God alongside nature, one’s family, or one’s community. Every moment is a new creation. Every moment is new life.

Praise the Creator.

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 (NRSV)

1 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. 2 Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. 3 Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. 4 Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created. 6 He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away. 7 Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, 8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, 9 you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, 10 wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, 11 kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, 12 young men and maidens, old men and children. 13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. 14 He has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his saints, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the LORD.

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Comments (12)

  1. We are always busy. Thank you for the reminder to Be still and know (and praise) God daily! His hand is everywhere if I only stop, look and listen.

    Betty December 21, 2011 |
  2. The circle of praise includes all who see the greatness and majesty of God! Thanks, Carina, for reminding us to really observe Him wherever we are.

    Lois Martin December 21, 2011 |
  3. This meditation helped me focus in these moments of praise and set my mind and spirit and body too.(hopefully all my senses), to see the grandeur of God and the mercy of His love all day long!! Thank you for your insightful words Praising God is a privilege and a gift of being human!!

    Joy Fors December 21, 2011 |
  4. Thanks for the reminder to praise wherever I am and in whatever circumstances I find myself. What appropriate thoughts for the day and season.

    Phyllis Weaver December 21, 2011 |
  5. Thank you this has been inspiring, God Bless

    Jessi December 21, 2011 |
  6. Thank you for this devotion, Carina. You have such an open and thankful spirit that I enjoy. I praise God for you! And am thankful that our paths have crossed here at GC.

    Jody Saylor December 21, 2011 |
  7. Thank you for sharing in this way – blessings to you and yours at Christmas!

    Dale December 21, 2011 |
  8. Carina, so lovely to hear your voice today. Thanks for the invitation to praise.
    Please know you will be required to perform the donkey song @ our next meeting. Much love & merry Christmas!

    Heather December 22, 2011 |
  9. Yesterday, I saw something that reminded me of your devotional. As I was heading to church for Bible study in the morning, I saw a tree decorated all over in red bows, and I thought this was so pretty. Later, as I was coming back home, I saw a tree that was bare except for some red leaves scattered among the branches. At first, I thought this was another tree that someone had decked out for the holidays, but then I looked more closely and realized that the “decorations” were all natural – God’s decoration for the season. This is just a small example of what you discuss in your devotional, but it reminded me to praise God, because He shows His glory everywhere.

    Elizabeth S.O. December 23, 2011 |
  10. I enjoyed your comments on praise. I remembered a time in a Bible story when a donkey spoke to keep a prophet from seeing the Israelites. The enemy wanted this prophet to curse the Israelites; God and the donkey said “No”. The story is in Numbers 22-24.

    Carolyn Swanson December 24, 2011 |
  11. great thoughts. You have blessed me

    Pastor Karen December 24, 2011 |
  12. Praise the Lord!!! Tantos años han pasado!!! Es una alegria saber que nuestras canciones en el mes de diciembre han sido de gran impacto en la vida de mis hijos.
    Arre borriquito vamos a Belen!!!!! God Bless you. Love, your mom

    Lidia B.Zehr January 15, 2012 |