Advent Readings Day 11
Reading: Psalm 126
“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126
What would Christmas time be without some form of celebration. The gathering of families, the assembling of whole communities and towns, special services in churches and office parties. There is so much to celebrate, so celebrate we must!
Even in the slums where we live people celebrate Ethiopian Christmas with a party. They will pull together resources with others in the community or save for months so that they can buy a sheep to roast to eat and drink together. Many times they will spend over 1 months salary for an individual for this celebration. The need for celebration is deep inside of us and it is a good, God given desire.
In today’s reading, The Psalmist is calling God’s people to look forward to a day when everything will be much better – a time of prosperity. And in that day there will be great reason for celebration, laughter and joy.
My question today is, “In the midst of the elaborate celebration leading up to Christmas, do we truly remember who and what we are celebrating?” We are not celebrating a time of year. We are not celebrating excess or elaborateness. It is not simply a time of year where we live and eat like kings because we can.
Rather, we are celebrating a Person. Jesus, The Christ. The one who has extended salvation to us. The long awaited one whom has now come in the flesh. Fully God and fully man. The only one who can fill our mouths with true laughter and our tongues with songs of joy. He is the only source of joy and life. And He is why we celebrate.
But notice, that the joy that was going to be experienced was not simply for the consumption of the residents of Zion according to the Psalmist. The joy, the laughter, the song was to act as a signpost. It was going to be said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” This is where our celebration points. It becomes a megaphone to those around us and out into the nations – “Look at what God has done! You too can know Him!”
Our hollow Christmas celebrations filled with materialism and excess fall short here. To many others around the world, the excesses of North Americans speak more of the false gods of materialism than they do of The True Christ. How can our celebration be truly joy filled and overflowing into the streets – pointing the way to Jesus?
I think it starts with remembering who we truly are celebrating. Our mouths are not filled with laughter and our tongues with songs of joy because we have a warm house with great decorations, a room filled with family, a tree littered with presents underneath or full glasses of wine served with succulent roast. If that is the bottom line for why we are filled with laughter, we are participating in simple hedonism. And we miss the point.
Rather, this Christmas may we celebrate heartily, but remembering why we have joy in the first place. The only reason is because of Jesus’ coming. God in the flesh coming to save and set free. And may our mouths be filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy, and may the good news spill out into the streets, “Look what The Lord has done!”