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!”