December 24, 2012

Praising God along with angels, sea monsters and creeping things

By Richard Aguirre, director of public relations
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 148 (NRSV)
DEVOTIONAL:

December 24 was not just Christmas Eve for my family. It also was (and still is) my mother’s birthday. So our growing excitement that day about the birth of Christ was magnified by our gratitude for Mom, who loved Dad and her seven rowdy children.

Mom grew up poor and as a child never got birthday gifts on December 24, so we made the day special for her. Before we opened our presents, she opened hers. We learned it was sweeter to give than to receive and the early celebration enhanced our Christmas.

Psalm 148 calls on us to offer God abundant praise. The Psalmist summons praise from all Creation – from the heavens to the depths of the earth, and from all living things, including sea monsters, birds, trees and even creeping things.

Since psalms were written as prayers and songs, hymns are an appropriate way to praise God. Psalm 148 reminds me of the beloved hymn, For the Beauty of the Earth, with its joyful praise to God. Canticle of the Sun by Saint Francis of Assisi also praises God for all creation, including Brother Sun and Sister Moon.

Christmas carols also help us worship and praise God. And for me, there is no more glorious song of the season than the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Hallelujah means, “Praise the Lord!” On this day, may your heart and soul be filled with joy and praise for God: “And He shall reign forever and ever! King of kings! And Lord of lords! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 148 (NRSV)
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.
He established them for ever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds!
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike,
old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

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Comments (5)

  1. A lovely thought, appropriate any day of the year, but made sweeter by the story of your mom!

    Mary Ellen December 24, 2012 |
  2. I wanted to let all of you at Goshen know that I’ve really appreciated these devotions. Thank you for sharing them with those of us outside the College!

    Sherri December 24, 2012 |
  3. The Hallelujah Chorus Chorus is one of my favorites too. We should sing it more often than just at Christmas. Thanks for reminding me of this Psalm. I will sing this song and pray these praise words today.

    Mary K. Mishler December 24, 2012 |
  4. Thanks for your inspirational writing, Richard!

    Lori December 24, 2012 |
  5. Leave a response…

    Mary K. Mishler December 24, 2012 |