All ready for Christmas, whatever that will mean in this strangest of years. Even if we are unable to celebrate in the usual ways surrounded by families and friends, there is still much to make a joyful noise about! We read in the great Psalm of Thanksgiving, Psalm 100:
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Joy and thanksgiving are inextricably linked. When we have a sense of great joy, it is difficult not to want to say Thank You. As we saw three weeks ago, St Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Rome:
‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ (Romans 15:13). He links three of the great themes we have been considering during Advent: Hope, Peace and Joy. Hope can be anxious, but we celebrate an expectant Hope; we are confident that God will fulfil this hope because we experience his Love, and this will bring Peace to our hearts for which we feel joy and gratitude. All comes together in the birth of our Saviour, so we say:
Lord God, just and true,
you make your salvation known in the sight of the nations;
tune the song of our hearts to the music of creation
as you come among us to judge the earth;
through our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus!