When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,Psalm 126
we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.
I love how the Psalmist celebrates restoration with laughter and joy as if in a dream. One might apply these verses to our near future – asking God to restore our fortunes. Restore normalcy (whatever that might be) as the pandemic continues to surge.
Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this;Isaiah 44:23 NIV
shout aloud, you earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
you forests and all your trees,
for the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
he displays his glory in Israel.
But let’s take a longer view as we read these verses. Lord, finish the work you have begun in us. Restore your people, your creation. May your Kingdom come in its completeness, gloriousness, and brightness! Our final redemption! And then our JOY will be complete!
Naked trees stark against the sky
Leaves falling, honey-hued and dry
Dormant, dying, nature stands
Groaning, groaning, meekly groaning
Redemption draws near.
Silence deepens, darkness creeping
Stars, their light safekeeping
Distant, pealing, sweet bells chime
Ringing, ringing, gently ringing
Redemption draws near.
Mother panting, sweating, praying
Father praying, fears allaying
Tiny, trusting, baby cries
Crying, Crying, Softly Crying
Redemption is here.
Holy angels, brightly shining
The message sweet, underlining
Goodness, gladness, singing out
Singing, Singing, loudly singing
Redemption is here!
My heart bows low, humbly, meeklyOriginal, 2021
Even for me, quite uniquely
Coming, rescuing, Jesus saves
Freeing, freeing, captive freeing
Redemption is mine!
Our God, the Lord, is in our midst; He rejoices over us with shouts of joy. Our joy is made complete in Christ, in our redemption!
No wonder, that our joy’s complete~Goethe
While eye and eye responsive meet,
When this blest thought of rapture moves us–
That we’re with Him who truly loves us,
And if He cries:–Good, let it be!
‘Tis so for both, it seems to me.
Thou’rt clasp’d within these arms of mine,
Dearest of all God’s thoughts divine!
Father, we are with you, and you do genuinely love us! You’ve redeemed us and given us your Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the final and complete redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of your glory. Gentle our hearts and minds as we make final preparations to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Remind us of our joy in you; help us to experience your rejoicing over us! Amen.