Psalms for Christmas 2017

Christmas Eve this year falls on a Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Advent in Year B. The set psalm is 89, which starts:

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever; I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.

Christmas Eve is also the starting point for the series of three psalms for the Nativity liturgies (‘Propers’), 96 to 98. To add to the list, the canticle sung on the third Sunday of Advent, The Magnificat, is also listed as an alternative. So our worship leaders have sets of readings with at least five songs to choose from.

Psalm 89 

The final song in book III is a long one, stretching to 52 verses. Themes therefore shift from praise for divine love and creativity through to an iteration of a covenant protection then finally a lament that time is short; how long must the singer wait for mercy? The strong theme of justice frequently emerging throughout the Psalter appears again in this psalm: ‘Righteousness and justice are the foundations of your throne; love and truth go before you.’ (14)

The first of those themes mentioned at the outset is celebrated in the refrain in both NCH, and PFAS in 89B. For those groups using TiS, the Australian hymn book, No 46 by Christopher Willcock is definitely the choice of the moment. As usual from this source, the verses offered may not coincide with the readings.

Psalms 96 to 98

These three psalms are songs of praise. Ps. 97 celebrating the reign of divine love is sandwiched between poems that call us to sing a new song in thanks for this ultimate supremacy of justice and goodness in the universe. For a review of these psalms and some of the associated music, please refer to the relevant post a year ago here>.

And while in the cross-reference mode, recall that The Magnificat was discussed last week (the post for 17 Dec, see sidebar at right).

And for South Woden readers, 

Psalm 126

126? This was not included in that long list of options above. Ps 126 was sung last week in most places. Not at SW where we enjoyed the ladies’ and girls’ leadership with The Magnificat. If sufficient voices are available at this time of busy preparations and travel, the men’s group will sing the Slavonian Orthodox setting of this psalm.

Men: God has done great things for us
People: and our hearts are filled with joy.

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