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The song of joy

advent joyWhen our son was born, one of the first books that we received was the Robert Munsch classic, I’ll love you forever. The book is simple, poignant and wonderful. Particularly arresting is that repeated chorus that runs through every page:

I’ll love you forever; I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.

Even when the mother breaks into her child’s college dorm-room—climbing up a latter in an endearing yet technically criminal act—the cradling of her child, and the song she sings, tugs at our hearts.

Many parents have played out this scene. Personally, I know that when our own son was born, my wife would often get up in the middle of the night and get our son from the crib. She did this not to feed him, or change him, or to soothe him. She simply longed for him with great delight. She wanted to be in his presence, to feel him close to her. Although he was unaware, asleep and dreaming his baby dreams, she would hold him, and rock him—and I’m willing to believe there was singing. To this day, those nights stand out for her as treasures: they speak profoundly to what it means for her to be ‘parent’ and him to be ‘child.’

This image is so powerful because it is so true, but not merely so on the human side of the equation. Can you see this reality for yourself? While no longer a newborn, can you imagine God’s presence surrounding you while you are unaware? The truth of scripture is that while you sleep, or just go about with your life, God comes to you. God takes you in God’s own arms, rocks you in His joy, and sings. We heard this declaration this past Sunday:

The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you in his love. He will exult over you with singing.

Think about that for a minute. The Lord of heaven and earth rejoices over you. Not over what you have done, not over your accomplishments, your activity, your brilliance, your aptitudes or skill. The Lord who is present with you rejoices over you: created by God in God’s image. Because you are present in this world, God’s heart erupts with rejoicing, and He sings. Like a parent intoxicated with the smell of their new child, God sings. God sings because there are some joys that can only be expressed in music and song. God sings, and all of heaven knows the reason. You.

Just sit with this. Resist the urge to explain it or to add more words in some attempt to define or examine. This is a truth to be felt, not investigated: a joy to be received, not thought about. This proclamation quiets us. It soothes us. It refreshes. True, it may not make the rough parts of life completely go away, but the joy of God, which radiates from God’s own heart, brings a sense of internal rootedness. We are held up in God’s love.

What would it look like for you to listen for God’s joyful song over you? Imagine if you made this your first thought in the morning, as you lie in that place somewhere between asleep and awake. What if, before you rose out of bed in the morning, you repeated this verse:

The Lord my God is in my midst, a mighty one willing to save. He will rejoice over me with gladness, he will quiet me in his love, and rejoice over me with singing.

Would that change the way you view the things of life? Would it change how you view yourself?

God’s song is always being sung. Sometimes, we don’t hear it through the noise of our lives. The turmoil of life seems can get so loud at times. There are hard times, doubts and questions, trouble, illness, regret, shame: so many things that can get in the way. Yet the outer and inner chaos of life never stop the singing, nor does it thwart the loving presence of God. This truth is ours to receive and live within; although we may not always see it, although world may not recognize it, there is a divine embrace that occurs. There is a gentle rocking of our souls in love, and like a heavenly soundtrack to our lives, there is a joyful song being sung. May all who have ears, let us hear. Amen.




Kyle Norman

About Kyle Norman

I am a Priest in the Diocese of Calgary, serving the wonderful people of Holy Cross, Calgary. I watch reality television, I drink Starbucks coffee, and I read celebrity gossip columns. I am also a magician and often use magic tricks to teach the children at church the lessons of the Bible. I believe that God is present in the intricacy of our lives, and thus I believe that Pop Culture can provide intriguing lessons, examples, and challenges for our lives of faith. Connect with Kyle on
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