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Devotion: Emmanuel—God of Our Music

Psalm 98

Sing to the LORD a new song,

for he has done marvelous things;

his right hand and his holy arm

have worked salvation for him.

The LORD has made his salvation known

and revealed his righteousness to the nations.

He has remembered his love

and his faithfulness to Israel;

all the ends of the earth have seen

the salvation of our God.

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,

burst into jubilant song with music;

make music to the LORD with the harp,

with the harp and the sound of singing,

with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—

shout for joy before the LORD, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,

the world, and all who live in it.

Let the rivers clap their hands,

let the mountains sing together for joy;

let them sing before the LORD,

for he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness

and the peoples with equity.

What is it that gets you singing? Maybe you’re the person who can make a song about anything. Maybe it’s a good song on the radio while you are driving your car. Maybe it’s the hymns and liturgy of worship. Whether you like to sing or not, or if you have a good voice or not, each one of us finds reasons to sing, even if we’re the only ones to hear it or if it only stays in our hearts.

In the Christmas season we especially focus on that beautiful word from the pen of Isaiah: Emmanuel (Is. 7:14). In our Children’s Service this last Saturday we focused on the angel’s message to the world to not be afraid because Emmanuel had come into the world. On Sunday we prayed and sang with our ancient brothers and sisters the great O Antiphon: O come, O come, Emmanuel! This weekend we will do the same thing, even in the appointed psalm for Sunday.

Emmanuel—God with us—gives us all the reason in the world to sing. We sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. There are a whole host of things our God does that are indeed marvelous, but what more marvelous thing is there than what we celebrate at Christmas? God who created and fills all things, comes into this world contained in the flesh of a baby boy!!! The next time you see an infant, or young child, try picturing for a moment that they aren’t who they seem to be. Imagine for a moment it’s actually God there in front of you!

I’ve tried a couple times, and it doesn’t really work. And you know why? It’s because your mind says it’s impossible, and because the child looks like any other ordinary child. Well, neither did Emmanuel when he came into this world. Why do you think Jesus’ popularity didn’t explode as soon as he came on the scene? When the shepherds left they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them (Lk. 2:17-18). But then, nothing??? Why is that? Don’t you think that what often happened in Jesus’ public ministry might have also happened at the beginning? “What? That’s it? He looks and acts just like any other little Hebrew baby boy.”

And that’s what is so marvelous about it. Emmanuel comes exactly as he promised. He comes not with shock and awe, not with a laser light show, not with pomp and circumstance, so that people would do the one thing God has always wanted people to do more than anything else—listen to his Word and believe it. And when we listen to God’s Word, when we see how Emmanuel kept all his promises, remembering his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel, then we see that Emmanuel has indeed has done marvelous things which lead us to sing for joy. Emmanuel is the God of Our Music, be it here in this house of worship, or in our cars and homes with songs about our Savior, or simply the music of the heart that sings the new song of faith and joy knowing Emmanuel has come.


Devotion by Pastor Ben Enstad

Copyright © 2022, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Green Bay, WI 54301

Bible text, NIV © Biblia, 2011

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