Stir and Gladden

Psalm 66, 67, 117; Isaiah 11:10-16; Revelation 20:11-21: 8; Luke 1:5-25

“Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth” the psalmist exhorts – not just to you and me but ALL the EARTH. The other psalm appointed for this morning proclaims, “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.” Not to be outdone, the psalm for evening worship (117, the shortest psalm in the psalter and the shortest chapter in the Bible) shouts: “Praise the Lord, all you nations! Extol him, all you peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!” That’s it – that’s the whole psalm: it reminds me to keep this short!

These hymns of praise join with Isaiah’s prophecy of the return of the remnant from the Diaspora and the dawning of the messianic age, along with that great vision given to John of Patmos in Revelation of the new Jerusalem where all things are made new, every tear wiped away and where death will be no more. All come together to stir and gladden the heart as we near Christmas day.

But wait. There’s more. What is this about the angel Gabriel proclaiming “joy and gladness” through the birth of another to be named John (Hebrew Yohanan, “God is gracious”) who will make all the earth ready for the Messiah? This John, who “even before his birth…will be filled with the Holy Spirit,” is to become John the Baptizer, the forerunner, the harbinger, the herald, the robin and witch hazel of the Spring of Life.

Good news is in the air, indeed.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Offered on December 23, 2014, by Bill Albritton, teacher, motivational guide, singer of psalms, child of God.


Published by


I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *