praising God

Advent Devotion – December 23rd

Luke 2:20 “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

The shepherds were praising God for all the things they had heard and seen. All… this is the Greek word pas, which means individually: each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything. I’m thinking consistently, continually, yes?

Can you praise God for every teensy-tiny thing that happened to you today, good or bad?  A flushing toilet? Hot shower? Clean drinking water? Clothing? Gas in your car? Or conversely, the person who cut you off in traffic? Having to park in an inconvenient place? Tired, crying children? Cramps/PMS/Menopause? A cranky friend or significant other? Not enough money to buy the gifts you want to give? Upcoming travel plans when all you want to do is stay home? The chance to attend service and worship freely without fear of emprisonment or torture?

Admittedly, it’s always easier to praise and glorify God for the good things in life. But when your heart is broken and you’re lonely and alone, can you lift that up as a sacrifice of praise, knowing He has been there, and His heart breaks with you? Aware of the fact that He feels each teardrop as it spills down your face onto the floor? Perhaps this praise, in the midst of your sorrow, your depression, your “funk”, is the most precious and sweet to Jesus. This praise comes out of a broken heart and is deliberate, obedient.

Take a moment today to praise Him for the good, the bad, the ugly. Then close your eyes and imagine Him holding you tenderly, loving you through it, enfolding you in His peace.  God is good… all the time.  All the time… God is good.

For further meditation/study, go to James 1:2-4, and 1 Peter 1:6-7.