Tuesday, December 05, 2006

learn to acclaim

Yesterday I was reading Psalm 89 aloud. Nothing to me is a better expression of praise to God than reading the Psalms to Him. Verse 15 struck me powerfully. In my trusty ampliphied version of the scriptures it says, "Blessed-happy, fortunate (to be envied)-are the people who know the joyful sound (who understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts); they walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of Your countenance!" The NIV translation puts it like this, "Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord!" Each version highlights a thought to me-more than a thought, a chosen way of thinking..."blessed are those who have LEARNED to acclaim You"..."blessed are those who understand and appreciate"...As I walk through this Christmas season, this feast and celebration of Christ's birth, I choose to understand the blessings symbolized by trees, lights, gift-giving, special services, carols-have we learned to acclaim Him? That is the point of all of this!

As I think back upon this year, I look at the particular blessings my God has wrought in this life in a time of deep travail. I lost a physical son, but gained a spiritual one, and his name is Luke, after the great apostle and Gospel-writer who told the precious story of Christ's birth that is most familiar to us. Not only is he a friend, but a fellow musician and worker in ministry. He has become so dear to my heart. How I thank God for His provision to a sorrowing mother. In this season of remembering how a Father sent His son to us, I thank him for the one He sent to me. He also sent a brother, a young man behind bars, and a fellow-sufferer with my son to make the journey easier for both of us. I have received such blessing and encouragement from this man who has learned to be grateful for his low estate.

I look at the women He has sent into my life. I prayed for such a long time to make female friends and have a women's Bible study group I could be a part of, and He sent me two that seemed perfectly fashioned for me. I need to be around ladies who celebrate, decorate, bake, know how to exude joy and love the way only women can. I have received back sisters and mothers, not having my own here with me at a time I wish they were.

As I put up lights, write our cards, think about buying gifts, choosing music for worship, and try to make my own home more outwardly joyful, I long for all of that to be a chosen way of acclaiming my Savior in this season. I want Him to see the lights, hear the music, feel my joy in re-entering life this Christmas. We sang "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" this past Sunday, and one verse says of Christ, "Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel". He was pleased to come and live with us. That thought just makes it hard to stay on the ground! So in all you do this Christmas, do all to acclaim our God who gave everything for us.


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