I took my first journey to the cross via the manger 30 years ago. I was a seven year old when I made a public profession of faith and sought to be baptized. With thirty years of practice, you would think that the journey to the manger would be easy. The songs I sing along the way I should do by rote. The path should be memorized. But it’s not. I still need to read the map of the gospels each time I take the journey. I still need a guide in the Holy Spirit to get me there. Leaders still point me in the right direction. I am still surprised by God all along the way. And He still teaches me new songs to sing.
“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.” Psalm 96:1-2
The psalmist does not advise us to sing last year’s song or follow last year’s path or do what is traditional. He does not make suggestions that perhaps it would be nice to do something new. Instead he commands that we are to sing a new song. A new song about the current journey. A new song celebrating the salvation that God is bringing into our lives now. A new offering of worship to Almighty God. Why a new song? Because we are a new people. God is the only constant. We change. Our circumstances change. The specific blessings that God pours out into our lives evolve with what we need. We should not be standing in the same place we were standing a year ago. So the song of praise we could sing a year ago should not be the same song that we are singing now.
“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all the people.” (v. 3)
As we grow in Christ we should be developing a deeper and deeper understanding of Him. We should be able to describe him in richer tones. The symphony of the song should grow from year to year as we add the layers of new understanding upon the old foundations. A new song that is our offering of worship in thanksgiving for what the Lord is doing in our lives.
“Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.” vv 7-9
I am grateful that I am not the same person I was when I started this journey 30 years ago. I am thankful that those first notes of praise are now full with the experiences of the journey. My song is richer than it was. But, I am more grateful that the song is not finished. God is still adding lyrics. He continues to deepen the tones. And, by His grace, the song I sing next year (or five or ten or twenty years or as many years as He allows) will be new again.
This advent season, praise God for your new song….and sing it!