The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
Psalm 28:7 NIV
Psalm 28, like many psalms, begins with a lament, a cry of despair. The psalmist makes a cry for mercy and help, hoping to hear God so he will not be like those in the pit. Next like many psalms that follow this pattern, he gives a frank and graphic description of how his enemies should be treated. These raw requests do not echo the words, “Love your enemies,” we hear from Jesus, but the psalmist asks that his enemies be repaid for their evil deeds and that they be torn down. After this honest cry to God, finally, a cry of praise and thanksgiving for deliverance comes in verse 7 of Psalm 28. The writer recognizes the Lord’s protection and responds with songs of praise and a heart that leaps for joy.
During Advent some religious traditions light a Shepherd’s Candle to symbolize joy. This seems fitting considering that the shepherds were given “tidings of great joy” by the angels. Shepherds, considered the lowest of the low in their society and living in a country occupied by a Roman army, had many reasons to be in despair. Surely, they had thought about revenge for their enemies. Still, once they heard the good news, they did not hesitate to go find the child and to tell others. They were quick to share their joy with all they encountered.
In this Advent season, when we can identify strongly with the phrase “the weary world rejoices,” how do we rejoice, how do we show our joy? As we wait for the child, does our heart leap for joy and praise him with our song? Julian of Norwich, who lived through the Black Plague wrote, “The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything.” Is our joy full because we behold God in everything?
Dear God, Help us see you in everything and to share our joy with those around us.