Back in Bible College, my roommate introduced me to Advent. He recommended reading the Psalms in the days leading up to Christmas.
This practice helped me regain the wonder and joy of the season. So, when my friend recently approached me seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of Christmas, I was equipped with scriptures from the Psalms.
I crafted a short guide he could use to get started. Our conversation inspired me to share the best Psalms for Advent.
5 Best Psalms to read for Advent
“Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty—he is the King of glory.”
The Psalmist starts by declaring God’s majesty and holiness. He also talks about his salvation and vindication before describing the Lord’s entry into a city.
Some suggest this talks about Christ’s ascension into heaven, while others believe it’s his entry into Jerusalem. This Psalm is used to create anticipation for the return of Christ when he comes back as king.
“Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us.”
Asaph pleads for God’s restoration and salvation. He refers to Him as the Shepherd of Israel and asks Him to relent on his anger towards them.
Asaph recounts Israel’s past when God rescued them from Egypt and called on Him to save them from their enemies. This Psalm reflects on the sovereignty of God.
It teaches that forgiveness is His prerogative. It reminds believers that salvation is through Jesus, who manifested God’s love and mercy to humanity.
“You, Lord, showed favor to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger.”
This Psalm also talks about restoration, a prevalent theme in Advent. The Psalmist focuses on national sin. He looks to God’s past deeds, which give him hope for future restoration.
He personifies God’s love, faithfulness, and righteousness, all attributes of Jesus Christ. The Psalm reminds believers that Christ’s death and resurrection restored humanity’s relationship with God.
“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’”
This is a royal Psalm that recounts God’s promise to David. The Psalmist praises God for his love and faithfulness. He also pleads for God’s protection from his enemies and asks Him to remember His promises.
The Psalm inspires confidence in God during Advent. Believers remember the incarnation- God’s fulfillment of the promise of salvation.
This makes them hopeful for the second coming when Christ will make everything right.
“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”
This is a call to praise and worship God for revealing his salvation and righteousness to the world. C.H. Spurgeon splits the Psalm into three parts: the subject, manner, and extent of praise.
He believed the Psalm points to Christ.
Can you read these Psalms on other days?
Yes. You can read these Psalms on other days. The spirit of Advent isn’t limited to the days preceding Christmas. Instead, it reflects the anticipation for the second coming of Christ.
These Psalms can help you focus on this.
How do you use the Psalms to pray for Advent?
Here’s how to use these Psalms to pray for Advent.
- Pick a Psalm. You can use your church’s lectionary or download one online.
- Read and meditate on the words of the Psalm. This involves slowing down and focusing on the purpose of Advent. Use the passage to reflect on the incarnation and anticipate the second coming.
- Pray. Respond to what you read through prayer. You can incorporate the words of the Psalm into your prayers. Ask God to restore the joy of His salvation.
As a theologian, I have always been curious to learn more about the Christian Faith. That is why I pursued a Certificate in Christian Studies, Certificate in Christian Foundations and a Masters in Theology. I also have an immersive experience in editing for numerous websites. I have worked as an editor for over a decade and am currently the editor-in-chief at Christian Faith Guide. I enjoy working as an editor and feel privileged to share my expertise and help spread God’s word. You can read more about me on the about us page.