Undoubtedly, a tradition that sparks intense feelings for me is Christmas music. Listening to someone soulfully pine for Christ through songs like “O Holy Night” and “O Come O Come Emmanuel” cause my heart to stir in ways that I have difficulty putting into words.
As someone who is more interested in mysticism from an academic perspective, Advent is a wonderful season for me because for a few weeks I cross the threshold from observer to partaker. The music and the weather and the lights and the smells…it all draws me into a beautiful time of praising my Lord and Savior.
It’s sometimes difficult to really praise God. With all that seems to be broken in this world, it’s hard to praise anyone or anything. And yet, that is exactly what God’s Word encourages us to do:
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD my God, You are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak,
Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.
– Psalm 104:1-2
Psalm 104 begins with a declaration, a command so to speak. The psalmist tells his soul to bless God, and then launches into a lovely and powerful description of God’s majesty and sovereignty.
Christmas, for many reasons, is a time of year when I see the necessity of this kind of praise more clearly.
So I invite you, join with me over the next couple of weeks. Offer God praise. There’s always a time for requests, petitions, and questions. But I encourage you, set aside a few minutes each day and simply praise God! Need a place to start? Mary’s Magnificat is an excellent beginning.
Try it out. I promise you, God shows up.