Advent Day 4

How good it is to sing praises to our God;

for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting…

He heals the brokenhearted,

and binds up their wounds.

He determines the number of the stars;

he gives to all of them their names…

His delight is not in the strength of the horse,

nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;

but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,

in those who hope in his steadfast love.

From Psalm 147

About 2:30pm this afternoon, it hit with full force: Advent is here, the season of getting ready, and I will have just about no time to spend getting ready because I’ll be getting church stuff ready. And there’s a lot to do. I said to a couple people today, “Advent would be my favorite season…if I weren’t a pastor.”

As if the general insanity of the afternoon and evening weren’t enough, insanity that included, among other things, an emergency errand run involving salad dressing, a bike rack, a children’s book, a warmer sweater, and much-needed coffee, as if that  weren’t enough, my evening has now resulted in what can only be ranked as one of my lower moments as a parent.

With all that in the background, here’s how I hear Psalm 147 right now: I like it that God binds up the brokenhearted in one verse and in the next is numbering and naming the stars. In other words, God is concerned about things as intimate as our heartbreaks, big and small; but also concerned with things that are simply too big for us (astronomy and physics professionals excluded) to comprehend. God can handle the big stuff, but God also cares about my crappy day.

I like it that God takes pleasure not in our accomplishments but in our trust. For myself this evening, I’d like to rewrite those last few quoted lines of the Psalm thus:

His delight is not in perfect parenting,

nor his pleasure in ideal mothering;

but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,

in those who hope in his steadfast love.

I’m just going to try and sit with those ideas for the few moments left in the day.

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