Advent with the Earth: Day 11 (Dec. 13)

Have you ever listened to the songs of trees during Advent?

Trees in Joyful Chorus

Psalm 96

“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar and all that fills it;
let the field exult and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord, for [the Lord] is coming,
for [the Lord] is coming to judge the earth.
[The Lord] will judge the world with righteousness
and the peoples with [the Lord’s] truth.”
– Psalm 96:11 – 13, NRSVUE

Aerial view of trees of different colors, including green, yellow, and orange

Advent brings expressive music to our worship spaces. But have you ever listened to the songs of trees during this season?

Psalm 96 celebrates the coming of the Lord. For the psalmist, this celebration is not for humans alone. The hymn opens with the call “O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth” (v. 1). “Heavens,” “sea,” and “field,” along with all their living and nonliving creatures, are invited to experience and express their joy for God (vv. 11–12).

While the image of God as judge can evoke fear for some Christians, this psalm points to the “righteousness,” or justice, that God’s coming will establish. For trees and other creatures, as well as for us human beings, God’s work to set things right for all creation is indeed something to celebrate. Branches might want to whistle. Pine cones to glissando. Dried leaves to crackle like a snare.

What joyful music are trees around you making?

Get the “Advent with the Earth” Devotional PDF


Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version updated edition of the Bible

Image of trees in many colors is by Martin Sanchez on the Unsplash website