Tehillim 120-134 are called the Songs of Ascent because they each start with shir hama’alot (Hebrew for ‘Songs of Ascent’). There are many reasons given for why this collection of Tehillim all start with the same phrase. Some say it is because they were the songs the Levites sang on the steps ascending to the Temple courtyard. Some say it is because the songs were sung starting with a low melody and end in a high melody. Some even say these were the songs the Jewish people sang on their way up to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage festivals (Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot).
These songs remind me of the story of Yeshua, when he was young and Miriam and Yosef forgot him in the Temple. Many people think this a strange story, how could any mother or father forget their kid?! Well, you see, everyone traveled together to Jerusalem for the festivals and then returned together. So in all likelihood, Yeshua and his family were traveling with extended family and friends from their home village of Nazereth. And as kids do, with extended family and friends in a festive atmosphere, they all congregate together and play. So Miriam and Yosef probably thought he was just with his cousins playing, they were all heading in the same destination, he would be safe!
So why do I tell you all of this, you might ask? Well it is because in this activity you are going to read the Songs of Ascent and then create a travel log of your journey from the Galilee to Jerusalem! In each of the closing of that day’s travel log, you are going to include something from one of the Songs of Ascent. Everyone knew these songs, so it is very likely that you would all be traveling together and break out into song together. And you thought that only happened in movies!?
- Read Tehillim 120-134 (don’t worry, they are very short) and think about singing them as songs. Notice what each of them are talking about.
- Take some pieces of lined paper and title them, “Songs of Ascent Travel Log: My Journey to Jerusalem.”
- A travel log is where you write a little bit about what you did, saw and traveled each day on your journey. So an example of this would be:
- Yom Rishon (Sunday): We began very early, why does everyone want to get started so early in the morning?! We left our home and met up with our cousins and friends. We will be traveling together. We started to sing Tehillim 120, this is one of my favorite songs we sing because it talks about how when we cry out to God when we are in trouble, He will answer us.
- You might have to do a little research on the route they might have taken from Nazereth to Jerusalem and look on Google Maps to see what the scenery would look like and how far you could get each day from walking.
- Have fun with this assignment and imagine being there with Yeshua, his family and friends as you went up to Jerusalem for a joyous festival!