Songs in the Night
By day the Lord commands steadfast love, and at night God’s song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8 (ESV, adapted)
Had your fill of Christmas carols yet? Are you sated with unholy Muzak versions of “O Holy Night”? Do you wish “O Come, All Ye Faithful” would just go away? Or that the latest “First Noel” was the last you’d hear?
Thank God, at least in the church we’re still in Advent, a season yet to be understood by Hallmark or Hollywood. And thank God for Advent carols and the truth they tell about what we really want—and this world needs—this Christmas:
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel that sings to be freed from grief and loneliness, strife and quarrels. Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus that prays for release “from our fears and sins.” Watcher, Tell Us of the Night that longs for the dawn and the light that the darkness has never overcome.
Advent carols sing, too, of the One who hears our longings and who comes with comfort and hope, peace and promise, steadfast love and even joy.
“At night,” sings the psalmist, “God’s song is with me.” In Advent, God’s songs are with us, and if we let them, they will sing us through December’s lengthening nights to the dawn of Christmas Day.
Day and night, in this season and every season, your songs are with us, O God. You give voice to our longing and you sing us through the shadows to your light. Thank you, God of our lives and all life. Amen.
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Parts 1 and 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.