Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life… I will sing praise to my God as long as I live… How good it is to sing praise to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! Praise the Lord! I will extol the Lord with all my heart [give thanks with everything I’ve got]… Praise the Lord, you his servants; praise the name of the Lord. Let the name of the Lord be praised both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised! -Excerpts from Psalm 146, 147, 111, 112,113
The Psalms in today’s readings all begin with these imperatives to praise the Lord. Each Psalm goes on to tell of the works and nature of God that cause us to praise Him. In the midst of this season of Advent it is good for us to look back and see what God has done, not only in us, but through us, and all around us; to remember His might that brought the world into being and remember His grace that brought us to Jesus. As we remember the sacrifice that Christ made for us, first in humbling Himself, the King of heaven taking on the form of a helpless baby, and then humbling Himself for our sake, to death on the cross.
Ann Voskamp, in her best–selling book One Thousand Gifts, speaks poetically of how our thanksgiving is necessary to a vital Christian life. Some reviewers have criticized her work saying that her emphasis on thanksgiving makes it a requirement for salvation. I think they have misunderstood. In her book, she speaks of how God brought her from a place of brokenness to a place of wholeness in Christ. The fact is that Christ by His life, death and resurrection has done all that is needed to save us and it is only His grace that restores us and makes us holy. It is only right and good that a life of praise and thanksgiving should be the response of one who has been made alive through the precious blood of Christ. It is He who has come to heal the broken-hearted and “lift up those who are bowed down.” Our lives should be a daily outpouring of thanksgiving and praise to the One who poured out Himself for us. He has given us all of Himself and we should give thanks with everything we’ve got!
During this season of Advent, look back on what God has done and through Christ, and because of what He has done, “let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Hebrews 13:15
Laurie Rambo is a past president, board member and active volunteer at Delanco Camp. She hosts a first Friday prayer for the camp each month at her home in Mantua Township.