I can still remember the moment when I first translated the Hebrew term for “praise the Lord.” It was late at night and I was working hard to get through Seminary. My Hebrew class was killing me (foreign languages have always been my nemesis).
I was sounding out the syllables one at a time: Ha Le Lu Yah, and again: Ha Le Lu Yah. Suddenly it dawned on me that I was translating “hallelujah”- praise the Lord. I was so proud of myself.
Not sure why, but I recently thought about the sheer delight that I experienced that late hour. In a new way, I was encountering a great theological truth…God is to be praised!
With that in mind, may I suggest an idea for Thanksgiving week? Perhaps we could all take out a calendar and make a few notes. Instead of just dreaming about the dressing and gravy, let us carefully consider each day of the week and make a concerted effort to “Hallelujah” in a new specific way.
For example, on Sunday (first day of the week), let us make a note of the spiritual leaders God has placed in our lives. Let’s name them. Pray for them and specifically thank the Lord for their ministry to us. (Can you imagine what it would be like without pastors, worship leaders, Sunday school teachers, youth directors and all?)
On Monday maybe we could focus on our own family members. Let us praise Him for the gift of spouses, children and extended family members. Let us pray for each of them by name. (That might help us be kinder to Uncle “Fred”, the irritating one come Thursday!)
On Tuesday, our attention could be focused on those very dear friends who might just as well be family members. Pray for their needs and thank Him that they are in your life.
Wednesday will be a great opportunity to thank the Lord for the gifts and possessions that we all have. Let us praise Him for our houses, cars, opportunities to travel, closets full of clothes and so on. His name should be praised as we consider all He has shared with us.
On Thursday, let us remember those we work with. Most of us work outside the home and encounter all kinds of folks week in and week out. Generally speaking, these guys and gals are a blessing to our lives. Let us thank the Lord for each of them.
Friday will give us the chance to remember our neighbors, those folks on our block or in our apartment building. It was not meant for man (or woman) to live alone. Living in community is a blessing and we should remember to praise the Lord for that privilege.
And come Saturday, maybe we can all praise the Lord for life itself. As the song goes, it is “your breath in our lungs so we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise to you only.”
So instead of those awkward mumblings at the thanksgiving dinner table about what we are thankful for, let us be intentional all next week and sound it out loud and clear: Ha Le Lu Yah!