Readings: Zephaniah 3: 14-20, Isaiah 1: 2-6, Philippians 4: 4-7, Luke 3: 7-18
There are so many songs that are written about individuals or inspired by individuals by those they have influenced. Not all of these are good and not all of them speak of how the individuals have added value to the world, but it remains an incredible thing when someone is immortalised through the words of song. What a fantastical thought that when you have simply lived your life and done what you believed to be right, it has inspired someone to burst out in song (because life really is a musical just waiting to be sung…). Through the language of emotion, they have given expression to something that has inspired them in a way that they were not fully able to express through words alone.
Zephaniah so beautifully describes God’s joy over our living fully because we are living in obedience to God when he tells God’s people that “the Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (3:17, NIV). Who would have thought that our faithfulness brings God so much joy that God Himself bursts out in song as He celebrates our happiness? What an incredible image we have before us to help us grasp the boundless depths of God’s love for us. He is always with us and is always able to help us be who He created us to be, He is delighted with us and longs to give us peace in the confusion of our lives. And when we receive that peace, He bursts into song because He is so filled with joy that we have received His joy and that we dwell in His love.
In the immaturity of our relationship with God, we view God to be cold and distant and far removed from the reality of the suffering of humanity and we are afraid of doing anything wrong because we are less concerned with the consequence of our sin for the sanctity of community than we are with God’s wrath. As we mature in our relationship with God, we discover a God who is attentive to us and we find that we are less concerned with God’s wrath than we are with the consequence of our sin for the sanctity of community. The story of Christmas is a story that helps us mature in our relationship with God as it reminds us of how God’s hearts breaks for us because we cannot see the wood for the trees and it is the story of how God breaks into song as He makes a way for our eyes to be opened to see the beauty of all that is good and pure and holy; of how He has broken down the barriers that we have built up between ourselves and God. It is not only the angels who sing at the birth of Christ; God is celebrating with song and Jesus is the song of God’s joy and the expressed words of God’s love for us.