A Joyful Noise

It is the end of November. We just had a month of refreshment as we focused on thankfulness. How fitting for this holiday to preface advent season as we prepare our hearts to fully prepare Him room. Historical accounts of the tradition of Thanksgiving aside, what a blessing it was to see daily so many people sharing things they were thankful for.  Thanksgiving was given for health, healing, and happiness. Thanksgiving was given through sickness, seeming insanity, and sadness. Through it all, I continued to return to is this Psalm, which is so often quoted during this season:

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into His presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, He is God!

It is He who made us, and we are His,

We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving,

And is courts with praise!

Give thanks to Him; bless His name!

For the Lord is good;

His steadfast love endures forever,

And His faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100

Make a JOYFUL noise to the Lord!

This year has been filled with differences and difficulties that make it hard to hold fast to joy. So often I would feel discouraged or downcast and want to make a whole lot of noise, both in person and on screen. I wanted to make my opinions heard and argue my perspectives. I wanted to defend my beliefs and take a side where divisions were drawn. I wanted to be noisy and loud and I justified this by claiming to be defending the Lord.

Hard stop.

I wanted to do what now? I thought the Lord needed me to defend Him? I thought that adding to the chaos and confusion would help the cause for Christ and bring glory to His name? 

We are certainly called to share God’s truth and to boldly witness His goodness to the world, but that is not what I wanted to do. I wanted MY message and MY viewpoint and MY desires to be heard and agreed with and adopted by those who disagreed. While I try to align my thoughts and actions with the Word of God, I am prone to wander and sometimes my own self inserts itself into God’s work. I get in the way and God graciously guides me to clean up my own mess. So how did this season of thanksgiving help me to readjust my perspectives to be more aligned with that of Christ?

Make a JOYFUL noise to the Lord!

The psalm does not say make noise before the Lord. There has been so much noise this year from the news media, from social media, and from my own sinful heart. When I add to that noise, whether in my own thoughts or aloud to others, I put spiritual earmuffs that muffle the voice of the Holy Spirit. Instead, let me put on my noise-cancelling headphones that quiet the outside voices and redirects my attention to the voice of Truth.

Make a JOYFUL noise to the Lord!

As we transition from thanksgiving to advent, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to God. May I focus on praise to Him and thanksgiving for all that He continues to provide. Make I seek to make Him known above all and may I proclaim His faithfulness to me and to the world. 

This has been a slower season of writing for me as I have been searching and soaking in the Word. While not entirely unplugged, there is such refreshment in not being tied to the screen, the scroll, or self-imposed deadlines. So to close out November, here are 3o things I am thankful for this year (in no particular order and extremely limited):

  1. Authentic Autumn
  2. Casual Everyday, not just Fridays
  3. Extra Family Time after a deployment
  4. Encouraging words from strangers when I’m out with all three boys
  5. A Wonderful School with Wonderful Teachers that is meeting In person
  6. Finding a Church Home that was everything we didn’t even know needed
  7. Cozy slippers
  8. A Swing Set that has the boys outside for hours every day, rain or shine
  9. Reading
  10. A stocked fridge, pantry, and essentials closet (always found TP and cleaning wipes when we needed)
  11. Bible Study Fellowship
  12. Open and honest conversations with friends, new and old
  13. All my children finally sleeping through the night in their own beds (mostly)
  14. Cheese… I have a strong appreciation for cheese
  15. Wonderful Drs. And Dentists
  16. Our two cats who sometimes drive me crazy when they scratch things up, but give me all the cuddles
  17. Facetime
  18. My car- after a traumatizing experience that necessitated its purchase
  19. Our Home that perfectly meets our needs
  20. Podcasts to reclaim the time I spend getting ready in the morning
  21. Bandaids and that all my boys call them “bandages” even though I never refer to them as such
  22. Hand me downs
  23. The Universal Church- I feel the kinship so much stronger after the year we’ve had
  24. The United States of America
  25. The U.S. Army
  26. Our extended families- we are greatly blessed
  27. Zoom- used so much this year and such a great connector when we must be apart
  28. Pinterest for recipes- it truly taught me how to cook and I am slowly learning how to bake
  29. Three adorable, smart, and kind boys who love their family, friends, and God
  30. My wonderful husband, whose birthday is today, November 30. 

This year the boys and I have kept a journal where we share our favorite things from that day. We have skipped a couple days here and there and we have done some silly entries, like silliest thing from the day or worst thing from the day. Maybe next year we will archive something we are specifically thankful for that day. I anticipate my boys mentioning a lot of video games, but what a great way to teach them to be thankful for the good, the not so good, and the things we so easily take for granted.

May you make a joyful noise to your Savior and praise His name every day.

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