Psalm 122:1-9

by Emily Tuck

One of my earliest childhood memories is hearing my Sunday School teacher reciting the first verse of Psalm 122 as we assembled for class: “I was glad when they said unto me ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’” Her smile, her demeanor, and her welcoming spirit evoked the joy and pleasure this verse was meant to convey. To this very day when I hear this verse read or sung I am taken back to the church of my childhood.

At first, reading this verse seems very simple and childlike, yet it is a strong statement of invitation and anticipation. It is one of the Ascent Psalms that describes the children of Israel going up to Jerusalem to enter the temple. It implies journey and pilgrimage. Going into the house of the Lord is regarded not as a duty, but as a thing of joy. It implies hope and expectation.

The Advent season in our church affords us multiple opportunities to enter gladly the house of the Lord. We come to hear the birth narrative retold, to enjoy the singing of carols, to see the candles and wreaths as we once again celebrate the Savior’s birth. This is a concept that needs to be taught and demonstrated by example to our children so that their memories of worship will become firm experiences of joy.