Christmas carols are one of my favorite things about the season. None of this Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer nonsense. I’m talking real carols.
This year, there has been one in particular singing in my soul:
Joy to the World
The author, Isaac Watts, published this work in a book of poetry in 1719, basing it on Psalm 98. The melody we know wasn’t added for another century. Here is the poem, as he wrote it.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing!
Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy!
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love.
Isn’t that beautiful? Where you able to read it without singing it in your head? I tried, but failed.
Joy to the World is full of beautiful truths and it’s gotten me thinking:
When we lift our voices in praise to our Father, we join a song already being sung.
This chorus of joy is eternal. God is forever glorified. We are the ones new to the party. His praises are already sounding across his entire creation and throughout the heavens. Psalm 19 tell us that all creation is proclaiming God’s glory and wisdom. Romans 8 adds that it is also groaning under the mess that we have made.
We are the ones who are broken. The sons and daughters of a Father we do not know, born into this world with our identity distorted and hidden by the curse of sin, our human consciousness tragically oblivious to our very Creator.
Our joy is rooted in our reconciliation to our Father, in the news that you and I are not alone. We do not exist on this planet without purpose or hope. God has been unfolding his plan from the beginning and is sovereign to the end. And in the middle of a dark night in Bethlehem, he became Emmanuel, God with us.
Joy has come to us because Christ has come to us.
Psalm 98, the inspiration for the carol, begins with “Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things!” It calls the seas to roar, the rivers to clap, and the hills to sing for joy together. “The Lord has made known his salvation.”
Why This Helps
In the middle of our everyday lives, it is so easy to forget. We race about in our schedules, trying to simultaneously save the world, keep up with laundry, and get ready for Christmas. And we grow deaf to the joy being sung.
When we stop and listen, we remember our part.
We are reminded of the reason for our joy: We have a Savior.
This Christmas, may we join the joyful chorus. May we turn our hearts upward in praise and thanksgiving for God’s wonderful salvation and repeat the sounding joy.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
I’ll be taking next week off to enjoy family and festivities, but I will see you back here in 2020!