Time to celebrate

Who has started listening to Christmas music? Me! Anticipation is high already for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all the festivities that take up a month of the year. I’m all for getting a head-start with some instrumental music, but when the stores are full of glittery snowmen in October…please, the leaves are still changing colors!

Advent season starts next Thursday, remembering the anticipation that built up to Christ coming, and renewing our anticipation for when He comes again. I am looking at 1 Samuel 2 which is the song of Hannah. She was a barren woman in a culture where children were everything, and prayed for a son that she would dedicate to the Lord. Samuel was that prayed-for baby.

What does a mother say in response a gift like that?  She celebrates! It reminds me of Miriam and the women dancing with tambourines after Israel crossed through the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Hannah’s prayer is filled with ideas that are echoed throughout the Psalms and the Bible. Her thoughts are also echoed in another famous song, Mary’s Magnificant in Luke 1 as that mother anticipated a baby prayed for through centuries.

I’ve begun to connect these dots of celebration – life out of emptiness, hope for the future, God at work in visible ways. These are times where the fog clears and we are dazzled by where God has led us. He turns tables, changes the predictable, and brings good to those who serve Him.

And the final thought is the most powerful of all:

“[God] will give strength to his king
    and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

Wait, a king? This is in the era of judges. Samuel – that prayed-for baby – is going to anoint Saul as the first king of Israel many years later. Perhaps Hannah was looking at the promises given to Abraham (Genesis 17) that his descendants would be kings. And maybe this powerful prayer spoke words greater than she knew, and God used her to speak of another prayed-for baby who would be dedicated to God: the Son of God who triumphed over sin and death. That is good reason to celebrate!

God, thank You for Hannah, and the amazing, creative prayer of triumph and praise in what You did for her. Please help me to pray to Your glory and celebrate what You have done. And with the celebration of Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and a new year, may You receive the praise for all You have done, are doing, and will do for me. To You be the glory, Amen.


Photo: Chimpr: baby’s first christmas bokeh


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