“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” – Isaiah 61:11
There are a few things to notice about this short but powerful psalm.
First, the psalmist goes out of his way to describe the incredible joy felt by those who have experienced God’s favor. “We were like those who dream… our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with shouts of joy” (Ps. 126:1-2). This is a picture of people who can hardly believe what they are seeing. They are so happy they have lost all sense of embarrassment or composure. But they have good reason to be so delirious, because they have been rescued from great pain.
Second, the psalm contrasts the sorrow of planting with the joy of harvest. “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Ps. 126:5). This is a call to patience and perseverance. During a holiday season that could be filled with pain and exhaustion this simple phrase can provide a needed reminder that joy is more substantial than a good mood. You don’t have to be “happy” to properly celebrate Christmas or thank God for his faithfulness.
Third, the psalm is relatable to believers in any era. It does not need to be brought into a “New Testament” context and re-presented in Christian language. It proclaims that “the Lord has done great things for them,” and the message of Christmas is quite simply that “the Lord has done great things for us” (Ps. 126:2-3)
Fourth and finally, the psalm invites us to consider miracles of the past as measures of future promises. This is a recurring theme throughout this devotion, and so not a lot of space will be used to explain it here. But throughout Psalm 126, it is clear that God continues to keep promises and has demonstrated his faithfulness time and time again.