Psalm 63:1–8(9–11), 98
Shout your praises to God, everybody! Let loose and sing! Strike up the band!Round up an orchestra to play for God, Add on a hundred-voice choir. (Psalm 98:4-5, The Message)By now we've been bombarded with “holiday” musiceverywhere we go. “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus”while we are grocery shopping, “Jingle Bell Rock” while sitting in the dentist's chair and if we're really lucky, we might hear dogs barking “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” while we’re pumping gas. (I wish there was a font to indicate sarcasm . . .)My collection of Christmas recordings is quite large, everything from Pub Carols (you can almost smell the sheep as the shepherds watch their flocks by night) to the most traditional Christmas music. The only problem is: it's still Advent. Honouring the Advent season and its music is one of the hardest parts of 'waiting' in a world that starts playing Christmas music in early November. If a radio station offers me a good recording of Handel's Messiahwhile I'm driving to work tomorrow, I won't turn it off; in fact I'll roll down the windows and turn up the volume, but I won't dust off my Christmas music until next week when we start the transition from Advent to Christmas. By mid-afternoon on Sunday the cathedral will be decked out in most of her Christmas finery for Lessons and Carols, fresh candles and blue hangings changed to gold and red. The choir in their freshly pressed surplices will enter and the procession will slowly move to the west end of the church. This is the moment for me, on the edge of my seat waiting, we stand and the treble sings “Once in Royal David's city, stood a lowly cattle shed.....” A single voice joined by the choir and then on the third verse we all join in as the procession moves east.
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth.
For that moment of joy, it was worth the wait!
– Chris Hooker