Sing to him a new song; pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.
~ Ps 33: 2-3
A wise friend of mine has been encouraging me, whenever I tighten up from the pressures or anxieties of life, simply to dance. “Go into a room by yourself where no one can see you,” she says, “put on some lively music, and just let yourself go!”
Our Psalmist today directs us to awaken that same joyful spirit, and to express it extravagantly. “Strike up the band!” he trumpets, “Tune your instruments, give thanks, chant, sing!” There is no holding back in the language of these verses; they crescendo steadily to those “shouts of gladness,” which in Hebrew are the same horn-blasts that brought down Jericho’s walls under Joshua. And there should be no holding back in our hearts, either, as we prepare to welcome Jesus.
But of course our joy is often curtailed, as we feel hemmed in by so many cares and worries. Where I live, today is the winter solstice, a day when darkness seems to have gained the upper hand. All over the world, the lights of humanity, tolerance and peace are flickering, eclipsed by dark forces of violence and injustice. There seems scant reason for joy. But into this distressed, sad world enters the Christ child. He brings healing, he renews our spirits with his love, he proclaims hope to the despairing. And he asks us to emulate the extravagant and life-giving love that led him to dwell among us, enveloping our fretful, imperfect humanity in his perfect divinity. The radiant and joyful presence of Christ was, is, and shall again be with us. Let us rejoice and be glad!
Loving God, Illuminate the dark corners of the world, bringing the joy of your presence into every human heart. Amen.
For today’s readings, click here.
You can access the complete collection of the Advent 2015 Reflection Series here.