December 16

Psalm 89:19-24

“Happy are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance;” vs. 15

Only a week or so until Christmas–three candles are lit on our Advent wreaths and final plans are being made. For some the cancelling of family gatherings will accent the already present pandemic loneliness. Others will find it strange not to be able to sing carols in a crowded sanctuary on Christmas Eve. Nominal churchgoers are being robbed of one their two annual worship experiences. Still others are finding new ways to give expression to their faithfulness–no pandemic is going to rob them of their spiritual connections to the Christ. It really is wonderful to have a strong and abiding connection to the Divine Presence, one that is not dependent on externals and that remains a potent force in every circumstance. The psalmist tells us that such persons have happiness, a joy that comes from knowing the festal shout. He’s talking about those who have regular faith-sustaining rituals, perhaps like our daily lighting of the Advent candle and reading a meditation. Habitual worship is sometimes disparaged in our culture, and it’s true, we can serve God and not go to church. But there are incredible blessings that come from participating in liturgy and knowing the responses by heart. It’s those practices that keep us connected in times like this. We can sing our praises even when the sanctuaries are closed.

Thought for the Day: What liturgy do I know by heart?

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