Christmas Reflection: Praise God!

Standard

He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke, blessing God.

Luke 1:63-64

Take a moment to praise God for the life he’s given you–for the blessings and the challenges, for the things that make sense and the things that don’t.

zacharias-naming-john-the-baptist-1102189-wallpaper

Going Deeper

Read Luke 1:63-80.

Zechariah had been mute since his encounter with the angel Gabriel more than nine months before. What did he do first when he regained his voice? He praised God.

What is the first thought in your head when you wake up in the morning? When you get in the car? When you get out of a long meeting? When you leave work? When you lie down in bed at night? When you feel angry or grateful or frustrated or content? How would your life be different if your first thought was a prayer of praise?

I challenge you to begin every day of the next week praising God. Pick a favorite song or prayer of praise. Write down the words and post them in a place where you will see them first thing in the morning—maybe on your bedside table or in your bathroom. Try to make those words of praise the first thing you say (or sing) each morning.

Here are a few ideas:

Songs

Prayers

Glory to God in the Highest!

Standard

Third Sunday of Advent 12/14/14 Gaudete Sunday

For the remainder of the Advent season, we will reflect on how different people prepared for and responded to the birth of Jesus.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:8-14

Jesus’ birth was such an extraordinary event, it prompted a multitude of angels to fill the sky. The angels responded to Jesus’ birth with rejoicing and praise. In today’s reading from the First Letter to the Thessalonians (5:16-18) we are instructed to: Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Throughout the rest of Advent, look for little reasons to rejoice. For example, yesterday I found joy in drivers who yielded for me on narrow neighborhood streets, fudge that set up like it was supposed to, and a kitchen full of clean dishes. Let those little opportunities to rejoice remind you of the ultimate source of all of our joy.

Do the angels’ words sound familiar to you? At Mass, when we sing or say the Gloria, we are joining in the angels’ prayer of praise from the night of Jesus’ birth. What a joy, to sing with the angels!

Take a moment, right now, to praise God. Think of the attributes of God for which you are most grateful. Express your praise by singing it, saying it, writing it, imagining it, drawing it, or dancing it.

There are many great songs about the angels’ announcement of Jesus’ birth. Choose your favorite, or check out one that may not be as familiar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1hlfyvNaTo

“Gaudete” means “rejoice.” On this third Sunday of Advent we light a rose candle with joyful expectancy. Our time of waiting is almost complete; Jesus is near. Along with the angels, we look forward with joy to celebrating Christ’s coming.