Family Liturgies

Isaiah 12: Singing Each Other into Joy

by Elizabeth Dilley

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 12:1-6
You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
For though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
and you comforted me.

Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust, and not be afraid,
for the Lord God is my strength and my might;
[God] has become my salvation.”

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day:
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on [God’s] name;
Make known [God’s] deeds among the nations;
Proclaim that [God’s] name is exalted.
Sing praises to the Lord, for [the Lord] has done gloriously;
Let this be known in all the earth.
Shout aloud and sing for joy,
O Royal Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

This text points ahead to the third Sunday of Advent, which is traditionally the Sunday of Joy. How fitting it is that the text begins with a recognition of anger and of setting aside that anger in order to offer comfort and trust! Sometimes, I find myself short of patience at my sweet child, especially when she acts in ways that frustrate and disappoint me. (Go to sleep already!) Often, my expectations for her behavior are realistic for her age and development, but I confess that even when my expectations are unrealistic, I still get angry at her sometimes.

But then I remember that we are all trying our best here. Just as God sets aside anger when I act in ways that frustrate and disappoint the Holy One in order to comfort me, so too am I able to comfort my child. We sleep, and rising refreshed and with joy, we lay aside the frustration from yesterday and are free to start again with a fresh spirit and renewed love.

Spiritual Practice
comelongjesusThis week, sing some of your favorite Advent and Christmas songs together, singing with joy the music that inspires you to live into what we say we believe: that God became flesh and dwelt among us, becoming our salvation, and great in our midst. If you’re a terrible singer (like me), all the more reason to sing loudly – let joy overtake your self-criticism and give thanks for the moments you have. Give thanks for those who have sung these songs with you, and sing them the way you remember them, even if all the words aren’t “right” or if you have to make them up.

Hum your way through the bedtime routine, and snuggle close, singing each other into joy and salvation.

God, thank you for comforting us
with the gift of music
at this time of year.
Help us to believe
that your love is stronger than our choices,
your joy is greater than our anger,
your salvation is more assured than anything else.
Sing with us, that we would always be able
to count on your presence. Amen.


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