"Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms."
One of the words that is commonly used during the Christmas season is "joy". You see it on decorations, and it is written on the majority of Christmas cards. There is plenty of encouragement during this holiday season to be joyful and rightly so. As a believer I can be joyful because I truly know the meaning of that old saying of "the reason for the season". I am thankful that God in His love sent His only and precious Son to this earth to become man, live a sinless life, die for the sins of the world on the cross of Calvary, and rise again the third day having conquered death and hell. There is joy in knowing that all of that is absolute truth.
How should I express this joy? Is there a limit on how joyful I can be? We are often too embarrassed to express our joy too much. The other day I was walking into a store with my wife, and we passed a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. Although it was cold outside and the wind was blowing, he was enthusiastically ringing the bell and shouting "Merry Christmas" with a full voice. You could hear him from across the parking lot. It made you smile to see his happiness and enthusiasm for what he was doing. This was not just a duty for him, but it was an opportunity to touch the lives of others by exuberantly expressing himself.
James tells us that if we are happy and cheerful then we should sing psalms. There is an encouragement to lift our voices to God in praise and adoration for all that He has done. We are blessed and happy because of the goodness that He has shown to us. As children of God we rejoice not only in the external pleasures of this world. We have been given life and life abundant with the promise of greater things to come. As we praise God others will hear our voices and wonder at those things that we say. Psalm 40 says that it was God that put a new song in our mouths and that song is praise to our God. Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord. We should be full-voiced bell-ringers as members of God's "salvation army". We have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and given a sure hope of everlasting life. How can you not be happy about that?
Don't let the only joy of this Christmas season be words etched on ornaments and cards. Show that the joy of the Lord has been written on your heart by the pen of God's mercy and grace!
May you sing psalms today!