December 18

From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised. Psalm 113:3

The night is almost gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12

I love Christmas….the lights, the pageantry, the songs, the anticipation…Advent, a promise of something wonderful to come. For Christians, that something good is God-with-us, Jesus, born of Mary, the Rose of Sharon, as the medieval theologians would say. He comes to us in a feeding trough surrounded by peaceable animals. The sick and outcast come to him. The poor adore him. He is a well of living water in the human desert. He turns that water into wine of endless supply. He multiplies loaves for us in the wilderness. Jesus is for us the graceful well-being promised from of old. And in his presence, as sign and proof that this is the handiwork of the compassionate God, there is singing.

“Gloria in excelsis Deo!” sing the angels to announce his birth. Glory to God in the highest heaven! Everything makes music. And we do too. Our singing is a gift. It is also (to steal a line from Frost) “a momentary stay against confusion.” For when we gather together, we don’t come alone. Along with us come also the power struggles of spouses, the resentments of children, the toxic waste of landfills, the gunfire of our streets, and the injustice of our economic system. When we gather together, the world is always with us. And in these circumstances, and because of all the odds arrayed against Advent’s beauty and promise, we have no choice but to sing. As people of God’s song we are compelled to believe that sooner or later, the tireless rendition of our singing generation after generation will so bewilder the enemies of love that they will have no choice but to give up and turn themselves in. Sooner or later, a crack of light will appear under the locked door of life, and the door will fly open. Sooner or later, the song will be on the lips of all creation, and God’s hope for the world will come true. When we sing we feel the world we can only imagine. Sing as if you believe that at the sound of our songs, one more generous heart will embrace a stranger. Sing as if you believe that by singing, one day the only sound in the whole creation will be a melody of delight – God’s delight in us, and ours in God. Sing, heavenly bodies in your orbits, stars in your exploding light. Choirs of angels, sing. Sing, a song of healing, a song of resistance, a song of peace. Sing, all the earth, and praise His name.

Lord, I praise and thank you for your wondrous ways. You are light and life to me. I claim this day for your glory. May each moment be a gift from your hand lived in the light of your truth, and song. Amen.


Susan Hanson

p.s. My annual Christmas devotion. Merry Christmas.