Psalm 96 (NRSV)
Verse 1O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Verse 2Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Verse 3Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.
Verse 4For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods.
Verse 5For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
Verse 6Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Verse 7Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Verse 8Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Verse 9Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.
Verse 10Say among the nations, "The Lord is king! The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity."
Verse 11Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
Verse 12let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
Verse 13before the Lord; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.
The joy of the people sitting in darkness swells into a great hurrah in the words of Psalm 96. It feels like people are throwing their hats into the air or are attending a ticker tape parade. Read Psalm 96 carefully, and you will see that it is not just people who are rejoicing at the coming of Christ, but nature too. The earth rejoices; the sea roars, including all of its fish and crabs and whales. The trees sing for joy. If this sounds too anthropomorphic or poetic to be real, science is showing us today that trees actually do communicate and have chemical community among one another. Animals have intricate relationships with one another, relationships that the human senses are often too dull to perceive. The coming of Christ means joy and salvation for all of them, too.
Dear God, help us to widen our focus for the Christmas season. Help us to see that it is a moment for all of creation to experience your saving presence. In your Holy Spirit we pray, Amen.