Reading: Psalm 122
Psalm 122 is a song of ascent. It is a song that would be sung as one traveled to Jerusalem to participate in one of the major religious festivals. The song was sung to help the pilgrim enter the right frame of mind for worship. Today, it would be like singing “Joy to the World” as you drive to church on Christmas Eve after working a ten hour shift at the mall. The pilgrims who would sing the Psalm are reminding themselves of the joy of worshipping God in the temple. They are also remembering the significance of the holiday.
Soon enough the airwaves, internet feeds, and television channels will be filled with all things Christmas. Sale ads, incredible offers, silly shows, and Christmas specials will all remind us that the season of shopping is upon us. And somewhere in there almost all people will remember, in spite of all our consumer culture says, that there is a “reason for the season”. Come December 24 many will stream into sanctuaries all over the world, in small towns and big cities, to celebrate the birth of Christ. They will be much like the pilgrims coming to the temple in our Psalm.
The high festivals and Christmas share much in common. Both focus on what God has done for us. Both draw a wonderful body of believers together to praise and worship God. Both celebrate God’s love for us. Both give a glimpse into the connection all people have with God. Both bring people from all walks of life together in the name of the King.
May we joyously gather throughout this Advent season with one and all to truly worship the Lord our God. It is a time to sincerely welcome all who seek to know the King. With open hearts and minds, with the joy of the season all around, may we join as one this holy season.