This is the eleventh part in a twelve part devotional commentary on “O Holy Night.” See the introduction here.
Sweet hymns of joy In grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us Praise His holy name.
The third response to the gospel in O Holy Night is deeply rooted praise from a joyful heart. As we’ve see in Philippians, at the end of days every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. No soul will be able to avoid recognizing His divine lordship and majesty.
However, praise and worship of the Godhead has already begun, and we are called to join in the songs even now. We witnessed heavenly praise in Isaiah 6, where the seraphim called out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The Psalms are filled with calls on us to worship:
“Shout for joy to God, all the earth’ sing the glory of his name’ give him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.”" (66:1-4)
“Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!” (113:1-3)
In the New Testament we see that Paul and Silas sang hymns while in prison (Acts 16:25). The directive comes in Ephesians 5:18-19, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverse for Christ.”
There is some irony in a song that encourages praising God through song, but it is perfectly legitimate. In response to the amazing grace we’ve received, we sing praises with hearts full of gratitude. And one day we will join that heavenly song that will see no end because God’s holiness is never ending.