Christmas Psalms

December 20-24


Go Tell It On The Mountain: God Reigns 

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! – Psalm 97:1 (ESV)

C. H. Spurgeon cites the story of a man named Whitelock, who was Oliver Cromwell’s envoy to Sweden in 1653. One night as he was waiting to sail, he was so distracted by the troubles of the nation that he could not sleep. His assistant, in an adjacent bed, finally said to him, “Sir, may I ask you a question?” “Of course,” said Whitelock. “Sir, do you think God governed the world very well before you came into it?” “Undoubtedly.” “And sir, do you think that He will govern it quite as well when you are gone out of it?” “Certainly.” “Then, sir, excuse me, but do you not think you may trust him to govern it quite as well while you are living?” Whitelock had no answer to this question, but he rolled over and soon went to sleep.

The psalmist begins His praise in Psalm 97 by reminding his audience that “The Lord reigns.” God governs the universe. Because He reigns it also means He also has power over the universe. At first glance, Psalm 97:1 seems easy enough: “The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice.” We read it and move on without much thought. But this can be challenging in light of how much sin and suffering there is in the world. For the believer, we find comfort in God reigning because we know that God is always at work and ultimately will accomplish His purposes in the world.


Do you believe that the Lord reigns, not only over the world but also in your life? How would you answer a mother who asked, “Was God reigning when my child died?”



Praise God for His power and position in the world and in your life. Ask God to grow your faith in Him in the middle of life’s trials.


Go Tell It On The Mountain: We Rejoice

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! – Psalm 97:1 (ESV)

Preparing for a large Christmas Eve family gathering, a mother had been giving out orders like a drill sergeant: “Pick up your things! Don’t get your clothes dirty! Put away those toys.” Well, her 4-year-old daughter had been underfoot all day, so she sent her to the next room to play with their wooden Nativity set. As the mother scurried around setting the table she overheard her daughter talking to her toys in the same tone of voice the mother had used: “I don’t care who you are, get those camels out of my living room!”

It’s easy to lose our joy during the Christmas season. “Let the earth rejoice” in Psalm 97 is significant of movement, of nimble movement, of dancing. It suggests the busy habits of birds on a bright spring morning. The fact that God reigns should be a source of joy that resembles the apparent joy of birds on a beautiful spring day. In fact, the Lord’s reign can only be a source of joy to you when you submit to Him. Atheists challenge God’s reign and accuse Him of being the author of evil and miss out on the joy He provides.


Does the fact that God is sovereign cause you to rejoice or does it make you stumble? Why? If the latter, how can it be turned into rejoicing?


Praise God for the joy His sovereignty brings.


Go Tell It On The Mountain: God’s Glory

Clouds and thick darkness are all around himrighteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. – Psalm 97:2 (ESV)

Kids were given the freedom to stage their own impromptu Christmas pageant. One girl grabbed the doll and said, “I’ll be Mary.” Another said, “I’ll be Joseph,” some scampered for the bathrobes and said, “I’ll be a shepherd.” Everyone was either a lamb, or a wise man, or an angel. So they all took their places. Mary had a sofa pillow under her shirt as Joseph led her before the mean innkeeper who sent them away. When the time came, the “doctor” took the doll from Mary’s pillow and held it up. Joseph, wanting to act like a new papa said, “What is it, doc?” The little doctor smiled and said, “Why it’s a…God.”

Psalm 97:2 reminds us Jesus is God. Why should the psalmist introduce the ministry of the cloud? The cloud reminds us of the awe of God. God is within the “cloud and darkness.” They remind us that God is incomprehensible and everything about Him cannot be known. Joy is never at its sweetest until it is touched by awe.


What are some of the images and characteristics of God that most amaze you? How can those attributes be a source of joy for you?


Praise God for the things about Him that you can’t comprehend. Praise Him for His Awesomeness!


Go Tell It On The Mountain: God’s Holy

Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.  – Psalm 97:2 (ESV)

In 1715 King Louis XIV of France died after a reign of 72 years. He had called himself “the Great,” and was the monarch who made the famous statement, “I am the state!” His court was the most magnificent in Europe, and his funeral was equally spectacular. As his body lay in state in a golden coffin, orders were given that the cathedral should be very dimly lit with only a special candle set above his coffin, to dramatize his greatness. At the memorial, thousands waited in hushed silence. Then Bishop Massilon began to speak; slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the candle and said, “Only God is great.” (Today in the Word)

The psalmist praises God’s moral excellence by reminding us that the foundation of God’s throne is “righteousness and justice.” W.Morrison writes “This ‘King’ can ‘do no wrong.’ It is impossible from His very nature. That nature gloriously necessitates the working of righteousness. To a properly constituted mind, there is no sight sadder than that of an unjust judge, an unrighteous government. The world has not been and unhappily is not now, free from the baleful presence of such miscalled governments. But it is consolation, in view of them, that ‘justice and judgment are the habitation of God’s throne.’”


Who do you think has been some of the greatest world leaders in history? What separates God from all those leaders?


Praise God for His moral excellence. Thank God for the mercy you can find at His holy throne.


Go Tell It On The Mountain: Be Afraid

Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles. – Psalm 97:3-4 (ESV)

One week a Sunday school teacher had just finished telling her class the Christmas story.  After telling the story the teacher asked, “Who do you think the most important woman in the Bible is?” A little boy raised his hand and said, “Eve.” The teacher asked him why he thought Eve was the most important woman in the Bible. The little boy replied, “Well, they name two days of the year after Eve. You know, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.”

Today we celebrate Christmas Eve and the most important birth in history. The angels announcing Jesus’ birth told Joseph, Mary, and the Shepherds not to fear the birth of King Jesus. The psalmist argues because the Lord reigns over all, His saints should rejoice, but sinners should fear His coming judgment. The images of Psalm 97:3-4 are reminders to those who would oppose God of His coming judgment.


Herod feared the birth of Jesus because he didn’t want to lose control. In what ways do you see society still fearing the birth of King Jesus? How have you found joy in Jesus instead of the fear of Jesus?


Thank God you don’t have to be afraid of His coming Kingdom. Pray for those who you know that are still rejecting Jesus’ offer of grace.