praise to God

When a heavenly host of angels appeared to the shepherds on the night Jesus was born, they were said to praise God, I would imagine in loud but hauntingly beautiful chorus, saying:

Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.

Luke 2

One of the wonderful aspects of Advent season are the Christmas carols (another good link, this one getting into the songs). Wonderfully written- which is why they are sung year after year, tunes forever embedded in us with words recalling God’s great act of love in becoming part of his creation through the Incarnation when the Word became flesh. One of the strengths of the content of lyrics is that they help us remember what God has done in Jesus. This is what true praise to God involves: a recounting of what he has done. From that we can begin to sense and enter into what God is doing in the present, as well as anticipate in “hope” what God will do in the future, according to his promises in Jesus.

Worship can be taken up with just the greatness of God himself, who God is. While praise, which actually can and should be a part of, or accompany worship is more like high commendation, in this case the highest, to one for their great and good works.

Some of my most meaningful times in spirit are when a song just seems to come to me, and I begin to sing it, or sing with it. This works alright at work, my singing drowned out by the humming roar of all the machinery.

The best lyrics help us focus on God and on what God has done in Jesus. Of course other lyrics can be meaningful and good in different ways. We have the Hebrew song book, the Psalms which gives us clear indication of that. Psalms of lament and even complaint, along with the psalms of praise. We need both, actually. I would agree with Michael Card on that, which goes along with the Great Tradition of orthodox Christianity, and most importantly lines up with the testimony of scripture. But praise to God, which actually is called a sacrifice offered, should be something we are learning to practice, becoming more and more a part of us. I confess in my own life, which often is played in minor key along with major at intervals, such has been at best lacking, overall, and at worst absent.

The Christmas hymns we call carols can help us reflect on the wonder and beauty of what God has done in becoming a helpless little baby for us and for the world.