Psalm 80:1-7 (CEB)

Shepherd of Israel, listen!
    You, the one who leads Joseph as if he were a sheep.
    You, who are enthroned upon the winged heavenly creatures.
Show yourself before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh!
    Wake up your power!
    Come to save us!
Restore us, God!
    Make your face shine so that we can be saved!

Lord God of heavenly forces,
    how long will you fume against your people’s prayer?
You’ve fed them bread made of tears;
    you’ve given them tears to drink three times over!
You’ve put us at odds with our neighbors;
    our enemies make fun of us.
Restore us, God of heavenly forces!
    Make your face shine so that we can be saved!


Do you have a favorite Christmas song? As in, it’s not the Christmas season until you’ve heard this song? Mine is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”… but “White Christmas” may be a close second (which is also my favorite Christmas movie!) For the record, I also have a least favorite Christmas song, “Last Christmas”. I think radio stations must play covers of this song between every other Christmas song, and the lyrics don’t really make sense. Not my favorite.

The first time I really thought of the Psalms as songs was when I was in the choir at seminary. We had a blue songbook that was all the Psalms set to various melodic options. We sang from it a lot, and it brought new life to their words. Today’s Psalm, though written centuries before the birth of Christ, could have been a Christmas song in its own right. Sure, there’s no plea for snow or Santa Claus, but there is a plea for God’s surprising, magnificent power. There’s a call for God to show God’s face and restore humanity. Isn’t that Christmas? Isn’t Christmas God’s bold, shocking, life-altering act of salvation where God is birthed into this world to teach, and change us, then take the pain of our sin away from us, undeserved?

So, maybe this wouldn’t have been the catchiest Christmas carol, but our singing this season, can be our asking for God’s restoration too.

by Rachel Callender

For Pondering & Prayer

Where are you finding God this Christmas season? Is it in song? Or people? Or tradition? Next time you hear a Christmas song, any Christmas song – seek the joy of God.

Prayer: God of life, You bring music where there is none. Restore us this day with Your melody. Amen.