“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.’” (Luke 2: 13-14)

For the month of December, I have sought to reorient my heart toward praise. I began by declaring this the month of Praisegiving. Since praise is not an easy habit for me to internalize, I chose to memorize Psalm 150 which starts every line with “Praise Him.” Each morning I recite the psalm.

From there, I worked to reframe praise in my mind by mulling on the many ways that I am Transformed by Praise. What has surfaced during this month-long dive into praise is my overwhelmingly strong productivity bias. This bias says that quiet, reflection, gratitude and praise are only necessary means toward the more vital end of being more productive. With this mindset, I go through my morning routines so that I can move forward making a difference and having an impact through being productive. This month has exposed that deceptive bias.

Reading the account of the birth of our Savior in the Gospel of Luke highlights the erroneous perspective that comes from only seeing value in producing. The angels of heaven stopped what they were doing, came down from heaven, appeared to a few insignificant shepherds, and burst into praise of God. I wonder how long that praise lasted. Was it a few praise songs? One huge Hallelujah chorus? I imagine it wasn’t rushed. The sense is that the earth stood still during that outpouring of adoration. God, the Father, and the angels in heaven weren’t in a rush to get to the crowning moment of the birth of Jesus. They had time to linger in praise.

In these last days before Christmas, I hope to set aside time to linger in praise of the child, Jesus. He has saved me. Though I have followed Him for over 4 decades, I can easily imagine what a mess my life would be without Him. He is worthy of my time and my heart. He is worthy of my pause for praise.

Whether I successfully build the habit of praise going forward into the new decade, I will end this decade, this season of Christmas that changed all seasons, in praise. I hope to set aside time each day over the next week and a half to read about His great favor when He became a baby and marvel over that beauty. I hope, two thousand years later, to join the chorus of the angels of heaven that night with the shepherds, singing “Glory to God in the highest.” Praise the child born to take away our sins. Praise the child who shows us the unfailing love of the Father. Praise the child.