Advent Devotional December 14, 2022


Psalm 147:1-11; 17

1 Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
    he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord and abundant in power;
    his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
    he casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
    make melody to our God on the lyre.
8 He covers the heavens with clouds,
    prepares rain for the earth,
    makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the animals their food
    and to the young ravens when they cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse
    nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner,
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
    in those who hope in his steadfast love.

17 He hurls down hail like crumbs—
    who can stand before his cold?


The Rev. Walter Canter, DMin student

The choir director at my childhood church had a large collection of neon colored hula hoops. He would spread them around the floor in haphazard patterns and have his elementary-school-aged singers run in and sit inside a hula hoop. I believe it was primarily a plot to keep us from poking one another, but my favorite use of the hula hoops (aside from actual hula hooping) was to sing “Allelu! Allelu! Allelu! Alleluia! Praise Ye The LORD!” (When I use the verb ‘sing’ here, I mean something more along the lines of ‘rhythmically scream at the top of our adolescent lungs.’) When we ‘sang’ the Allelus, we were allowed to jump into another adjacent hula hoop. It was glorious mayhem, especially when one of us would get too excited and jump into the next hoop on “Praise Ye The Lord!” instead of “Alleluia!” The result was full contact children’s choir, and it was glorious.

Psalm 147 is all about the joy of returning home, rebuilding, and reconciling wrongs, and like the psalms that surround it, it begins and ends with “Hallelujah!” which means “Praise the Lord!” but, in the middle there’s a hail storm (v. 17). As you rejoice your way through Advent remember that sometimes songs of praise are messy and chaotic (especially in the middle). Embrace the beauty of God in these messy songs and know that God is gracious, and your song of praise, however it sounds, however it looks today, is fitting.


Awesome God!
Let me praise you today.
Allelu! <insert your own dance move of prayer>
Allelu! <insert the same dance move of prayer>
Allelu! <insert the same dance move of prayer>
Alleluia! <amp it up by switching up your move and going all out>

About Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Rooted in the Reformed tradition, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is committed to the formation of women and men for theologically reflective ministry and to scholarship in service to the global Church of Jesus Christ.

Become a Student

Certificate Programs

Special Programs


In addition to their on-campus duties, our faculty are experts in their fields and are available to preach and teach. Learn more about their topics of research and writing and invite them to present at your congregation or gathering.


The Seminary hosts a wide range of events—many of them free!—on topics of faith including church planting, mission, vocation, spiritual formation, pastoral care and counseling, archaeology, and many more. Visit our calendar often for a listing of upcoming events.

Visit PTS

Interested in the Seminary? Come visit us!

Stay in Touch with PTS

Sign-up to receive the Seminary's newsletters: Seminary News (monthly), Center for Adaptive and Innovative Minsitry (monthly), Continuing Education (monthly), World Mission Initiative (monthly), Metro-Urban Institute (quarterly), and Kelso Museum. Alums, there's also one for you!