Greater Joy at Christmas

I hate having a song stuck in my head. During the early weeks of COVID lockdown I had the song from Veggie Tales “Barbara Manatee” stuck in my head. We were unpacking hundreds of boxes moving back into our home. We had been temporarily housed in a downtown apartment for 7 months. Absent-mindedly I would burst out in the first line. My whole family would yell out, “NOT AGAIN!”. My beloved husband took to using noise-cancelling headphones because it bothered him so much. 

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I agree it was awful… I hate that song too, and yet I couldn’t get it out of my head. I’m sure you know the feeling of a song being stuck in your head. Usually, the ones that get stuck in my head are from worship at church. When those are stuck in my head it cycles truth through my mind over and over! 

What we feed our minds is what comes out in song. As people what we feel often has a song that accompanies it. (in that case I’m not quite sure what Barbara Manatee reveals about me). 

Bursting in Joy

If the weeks leading up to Advent have been a slow build in anticipation, this is where it bursts forth revealing with joy what he has done! God’s plan was a shadow in the Old Testament but is now fully revealed in the coming of the Messiah.

According to RC Sproul, those of us who speak English don’t really understand many of the subtleties that are happening in Hebrew poetry. In Western poetry, we tend to focus on meter, rhythm, and rhyme. Ancient Hebrew poetry focuses, in part, on rhyming ideas.

The most common kind of Hebrew poetry is parallelism. This verse is a form of synonymous parallelism. It takes one idea and then says it in four different ways to expand the meaning and make it clearer.

We are told “Oh sing to the Lord a new song”. Then it expands, “Sing to the Lord, all the earth.” It expands but in the second line it expands to something that wouldn’t have been true at that time. The whole earth wasn’t already singing God’s praise. The author lived at a time where most of the people of the world sacrificed to idols.

Even Greater Joy

More people now recognize Christ as Lord than they did in the Old Testament. But in Philippians 2:10-11 we get a peek into the future “…Every knee will bow… and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Praising God’s work is a theme we can trace through the whole Bible. It’s often after God has shown himself the mighty rescuer of his people. The death of Christ brought the entrance more than Israel into his body. We all tell more richly of his salvation to one another.

Many of us know though that at the center of praise is also sacrifice. It costs us something to acknowledge that his way and plan is the best one. We can only truly able to praise God when we recognize his work. What he is and has given is better than anything else we want.

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