“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.”
(Luke 1:68 NIV)
We find several people offering the gift of praise in the nativity story. We hear…
Mary praising God in a song, also known as “The Magnificat:”
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me–holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.” (Luke 1:46-55)
Zechariah uttering praise once he was able to speak again:
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us–to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” (vv. 68-75)
The angels erupting with praise: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (2:14). Although we don’t hear their words of praise, we know that the shepherds praised as well: “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (v. 20).
Simeon offering praise when he met the Child at the Temple:
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” (vv. 28-32)
This Christmas, I pray that we, too, will offer the gift of praise to God for giving us the gift of Salvation.