By Pastor Austen Ukachi
Last week, we considered the Reason and Blessings of Thanksgiving. This week, we shall consider the Importance of Praise at Christmas. As we pointed out last week, there is a subtle difference between thanksgiving and praise. We thank God for what he has done, while we praise him for who he is. We also said that, thanksgiving could by quite and personal while praise is loud. Thanksgiving is directed at someone, while praise is spoken about someone. Both thanksgiving and praise belong to God. CHRISTMAS is a season for thanksgiving; we should evoke praises to God for giving us JESUS and for all his mercies.
Psalm 150 answers three questions, who should praise God? Why praise God and how should we praise God? Let us note the following facts about praise:
Praise is good, pleasant and beautiful Psalm 147:1
Praise is also a command Psalm 150:6
We are created to praise him, 1 Pet. 2:9
All creation is enjoined to praise God, Psalm 148:1-6
Because God is great, he deserves great praises from us his saints Psalm 48:1; 145:3.
David praised God seven times daily. How often do you praise God daily? Psalm 119:164.
David also said in Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
ZION, which represents the Church now, should embody praise. Praise is a vow we owe God. Psalm 65:1 says, “Praise is awaiting You, O God in Zion; And to You the vow shall be performed.”
Praise brings blessings Psalm 67:5-7.
Praise commands victory in difficulties and battles 2 Chro. 20:22.
Psalm 22:3 says, God inhabits or is enthroned in the praises of his people.
Important as praise could be, it does not come natural with man. At times, praising God could be with difficulty hence, David prayed that God will release his Spirit to praise him, Psalm 142:7.
Our theme, the importance of praise at Christmas is deliberate. In Luke 2:20, we read, “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen as it was unto them.” The hosts of heaven praised God when JESUS was born; and the shepherds went to Bethlehem to see Mary and the baby. When they returned, they began to glorify and praise God for all they heard and saw, as they were told. If the host of heaven and shepherds praised God at the birth of Jesus, so should we.
What do we praise God for at CHRISTMAS? We praise him for sending JESUS to us. We praise him for who JESUS is to us. We praise him for all the mercy and grace JESUS brought to us. We praise him for the hope, the joy and all the blessings we have in Christ. We also praise him in anticipation for the return of JESUS.