Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
What is the most original Christmas decoration you have ever seen? One that I have found very inspiring was the ‘chain of praise’ made by a friend of mine from Toronto and her family. Every evening in Advent she would have her children write one thing they were grateful for on a strip of coloured paper, on Christmas Eve the strips were joined to form a chain and placed on the Christmas tree.
The hymn ‘Tell out my soul’ is a paraphrase of Mary’s Magnificat from Luke 1:46-55. If we read from just before the hymn, we will see that it’s her cousin Elizabeth’s words of recognition and blessing that cause Mary to break into a song in which she praises God and blesses the future generations. Elizabeth’s uplifting, positive words give rise to an unbroken chain of praise and gratitude that continues to this day.
As we join in with the words of ‘Tell out my soul’ we become part of that chain and are reminded of our calling to build up others, our loved ones, friends and people we dislike, with the power of our words.
The hymn also brings to mind the poetic image in Psalm 19 of all creation pouring out praise, every moment reciprocating and evoking a new part of the song: ‘The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork […] their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.’
Heaven and earth, the autumn colours in our garden and rays of winter sunshine are forever praising God, like an unbroken chain, their message is delivered from day to day and from night to night.
And our lives are part of it.
Lord, I’ve got so much to thank you for today,
so much to praise you for.
Teach me the power of a thankful heart
and help me start a chain reaction
of praise and gratitude
in my family, community, my church. Amen.