December 13, 2015

We read in Zephaniah today that God “will sing joyfully because of you, / as one sings at festivals” (Zephaniah 3:18). We know plenty about singing at festivals. Already our ears are ringing with the songs and carols that anticipate the Christmas season.

 Paul reminds us of the source of our own double rejoicing: God is the mighty savior who is in our midst (in Zephaniah’s words). Because this is so, says Paul, we can rejoice and be at ease. We don’t have to worry, for God’s peace will stand guard over our hearts and minds.

A medieval carol depicts Christmas as “my dancing day” and urges us to enter into the dance. Why all the merrymaking? Because “the Lord is near,” as Paul reminds us (Philippians 4:5). He then points to another reason for the dancing: the dawn of the promise of peace, the peace beyond all understanding, that is now within our grasp.


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