_ Study _
Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
_ Read _
If you had to name your all-time favorite celebration what would it be? A favorite birthday? Your best friend’s annual Christmas cocktail party? Your wedding day? Your parent’s surprise anniversary party?
My 1920s themed 30th birthday party most definitely nears the top of my list. Full of lots of gold and glitter decor, friends decked out in glam Great Gatsby attire, delicious appetizers, a signature prohibition cocktail, and a photobooth– it was a night to remember.
I thoroughly enjoy the process of planning a party; I like putting together spreadsheets and thinking through logistics, and using my creative side to brainstorm fun games, décor, and making flower arrangements. But the best part of planning a party, is when it all comes together and I get to see my guests smiling, laughing, and overflowing with joy.
Here’s the thing about celebration – it is not always easy. It takes work, it takes time, it takes stepping outside of routine or busyness, and sometimes it takes leaving heaviness behind. But it is always worth it. And here’s why. Celebration shifts our focus to the goodness in our lives and enables us to choose joy.
Throughout the book of Psalms, we read stories of devastation, frustration, lament and sorrow, but woven throughout is a constant theme of praise and celebration of who God is and what He has done. In Psalm 96, we do not know what David, the author, is going through but we do know that his words demonstrate an intentional choice to fix his eyes on the goodness of the God who created him. Proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name. Each of these phrases demonstrates a posture of celebration; and you know what the end result is? Joy.
So what does this have to do with rest? When we take the time to stop what we’re doing, shift our focus to the goodness around us, and dwell in the joy of what God has done, we will find rest; rest from striving, struggles, and anxiety as we fix our eyes on Him.
Together, let’s celebrate our awesome God; let’s find rest in Him as we join the heavenly hosts who on the night of Jesus’ birth said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)
_ Practice _
Today I encourage you to practice the discipline of celebration in two ways.
Treat yourself to an intentional celebratory activity – indulge in a favorite chocolate, take a luxurious bubble bath, drink a glass of champagne, have a dance party to your favorite jams – choose any activity that will bring you joy.
Declare the goodness of the Lord by making a good list. Look back on the past week and make a list of 10 things you are grateful for. Look deep, how has God blessed you? What areas of providence or protection can you see?
I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for - use the #arestfuladvent and share your good list on Instagram.
_ Extra Resource _
Glory with Kristen Wehtherell | Episode of the Journeywomen podcast - This episode focuses on reflecting on and marveling at the glory of God. “We talk about everything from how God’s glory actually drives the storyline of Scripture, to what it looks like for us to live for God’s glory and not our own.”
This devotional is part of the A Restful Advent series.
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