Is there a Christmas Psalm?

This morning as I think about the psalms, I wonder if there is a psalm that could represent or foreshadow our Christmas celebrations. What do you think? Certainly many of the psalms are used to celebrate God’s gifts and goodness, his lovingkindness and benevolence to all people. Maybe, a psalm that mourns would be appropriate for this season, after all Jesus came to earth as the Son of Man for a purpose that involved atonement for our sin. The psalm that came to my mind was one that I read last Easter season as one of the Messianic psalms – Psalm 45. Let’s see if this celebration psalm fits the celebration of Christmas…

“My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.”

Christmas is the time when we get more letters and cards from friends, relatives, dentists etc., than at any other time of year. There is a sense of ‘good tidings’ and happy greetings with one another – those we know and those who are strangers. In the busyness, could one possibly forget to address the verses to the king?

“You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty!

In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; Let your right hand teach you awesome deeds! Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; the peoples fall under you.”

Splendor and majesty was the heavenly hosts’ message in Luke 2, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Meekness is an attribute that is mentioned in this season, but the sharp arrows and falling people in the Christmas story came at the hand of the evil King Herod instead of the good king that is celebrated in Psalm 45. Peace with God – oh what gift to share with others!

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad; daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.”

Here is mention of myrrh and cassia, like the gifts brought by the king makers from the east. One thing we often do not mention at Christmas is that the myrrh and frankincense were used as burial spices also, but they are certainly gifts meant to honor a king.

“Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear; forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him. The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts, the richest of the people. All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. In many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions following behind her. With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king.”

So now we know, without a doubt, that Psalm 45 is a wedding song. At this point in the psalm we could sing, “Here comes the bride!” Notice well how backwards our modern wedding ceremonies are in that they concentrate on the bride. The wedding featured here, and in Jesus’ own teaching, highlights the coming of and preparations made by the groom for the benefit of his bride. In John 14, Jesus said that he was going away to prepare a place for his own, and that he would return and take them to his Father’s house to be with him. In the parable of the Ten Virgins, the bridegroom comes when his preparations are finished; some of those waiting were ready and others were not.

Is that not what a good portion of the Bible story – God’s story – about? God preparing a people, holy, pure, fit to be presented to the King? Jesus’ birth is the key to the creation of this people because there was no one who met God’s requirements to be joined to His Son. The people God had created as ‘very good’ rebelled and pursued less worthy gods; they sold their purity for a bite of fruit but had to be redeemed at the cost of a life. Jesus came to live a life fully obedient to God and to pay the price for his bride.

Further on in God’s story, Revelation 19, we read of the grandest wedding celebration in the marriage supper of the Lamb to the ready Bride clothed “with fine linen, bright and pure.” A wedding will happen! “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

“In place of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth. I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.”

The union of the couple is intended to be productive and long-lasting. Philippians 2:1-8 exhorts those who are in Christ to participate in that union by thinking like Christ and humility in service and obedience as he did. God gave Mary and Joseph instructions as to the name of the Child that would come and this name, Jesus, is remembered and praised in all generations because God has exalted it.

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

Sing with the heavenly hosts – Merry Christmas! The Bridegroom is coming!

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