"Praise God, sun and moon: praise God, all you shining stars! Praise God, all the angels; praise God all God's host." Psalm 98
Martin Luther described sin as life curved in upon itself. The theme of today's psalm, praise, is pretty much the opposite of that. Praise is life opened out, expansive, a jubilant response to a gracious and astonishing God. What's especially wonderful about this psalm of praise is that it includes all creation in the great chorus. Perhaps this is part of the reason that many of the manger scenes we see at this time of year aren't limited to human beings alone. They include sheep and goats, a donkey or a cow. They unfold beneath the starry sky and sheltering trees. Sometimes it can seem that all creation is somehow caught up and united in praise of God.
Such experiences tell us something about who we truly are. At one time or another, most of us wonder what life is really about and why we are here. We may think of ourselves as producers or professionals, as family members or citizens. All of these are important and have their place. But most of all we are, I think, worshippers. Whether kneeling at some manger, shouting praise unto the highest heavens, murmuring our gratitude before mystery, we are worshippers. And the reason for our praise? While we were yet sinners, Christ has come for us; while we were yet far off, Christ has come to us.
"Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord." And for this we praise you this day and all our days. Amen.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul’s Letters to Timothy for a New Day. You can read Tony's "Weekly Meditation" and "What's Tony Thinking?" at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.