Thirty plus years ago, I began preparing Advent devotionals each year for my family. Three decades seems like a long time! Seventy years seems even longer…
After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, Ezra led the exiled Jews back to Jerusalem and, on that ruined site, started to rebuild the Temple. Even as Ezra began his task, he led the nation in corporate thanks to God. In Ezra 3:11, we read that “With praise and thanks they sang this song to the Lord: ‘He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!’”
Years later, Nehemiah led another wave of his people home to Jerusalem and helped them rebuild the
wall around the city. When the task was complete, he too led the nation in a time of corporate thanks to God. In Nehemiah 12:24,31,38,43, we read how Nehemiah led the leaders to the the newly reconstructed wall and organized two large choirs that walked along the top of the wall, one choir turning north and the other south, until they met again at the other side of the city. “Many sacrifices were offered on that joyous day, for God had given the people cause for great joy. The women and children also participated in the celebration, and the joy of the people of Jerusalem could be heard far away.”
When is the last time that you joined together with all God’s people – men, women and children – to give thanks? Could the neighbors hear your songs of praise? Perhaps you and your friends and your family can go caroling this season and sing your thanks to the Lord.