Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Advent Devotional December 25, 2013

The Rev. Ellen R. Dawson '09, Presbyterian Campus Minister, University of Arizona

Scripture

Psalm 147:1-11

1   Praise the Lord!
          How good it is to sing praises to our God;
          for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2   The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
          he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3   He heals the brokenhearted,
          and binds up their wounds.
4   He determines the number of the stars;
          he gives to all of them their names.
5   Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
          his understanding is beyond measure.
6   The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
          he casts the wicked to the ground.

7   Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
          make melody to our God on the lyre.
8   He covers the heavens with clouds,
          prepares rain for the earth,
          makes grass grow on the hills.
9   He gives to the animals their food,
          and to the young ravens when they cry.
10  His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
          nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
11  but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
          in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Devotional

December 25, 2004 is a day I will never forget. I was serving as a PCUSA Young Adult Volunteer in the small town of Tiquisate, Guatemala. I had barely slept that not-so-silent-night, due to the roosters crowing, the constant fireworks, the laughter and singing.

I had been expecting a solemn Christmas Eve filled with candlelight, peaceful prayers, and hymns. But what I experienced at La Iglesia Primitiva was a rollicking birthday party for Jesus. And Christmas Day wasn’t any less rowdy. It was truly a celebration of the birth of Christ! That Christmas, I came to see that praise was indeed fitting! As Psalm 147 reminds us, we are to praise our God. Praise the Lord who is so great and powerful, so loving and gracious, that he would send His Son for us. What fun it is to show our gratitude for the incarnation of our Lord and Savior!

Prayer

Loving God, I praise you and thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, the ultimate gift of love. This day, I will strive to give you praise in all I do and all I say. Amen.