Today is the third Sunday of ADVENT.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity. – Psalm 98:4-9
Though the arrangements of this familiar Christmas carol have changed through the years, the message is still crystal clear – THE LORD HAS COME – JOY TO THE WORLD! Everyone from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to Mariah Carey has recorded it… and is it any wonder??? Everyone loves to sing about the hope and JOY that came down to earth on Christmas night.
Did you know that Watts actually wrote this song as a testament to the SECOND COMING of Christ – not His birth? Ah – that puts a whole new spin on things, eh? I know when I hear the lyrics in the future, I’ll think of them much differently.
Based on the last part of the 98th Psalm, English songwriter Isaac Watts wrote the lyrics to this uplifting carol. It was first published in 1719 in Watts’ collection; The Psalms of David: Imitated in the language of the New Testament, and applied to the Christian state and worship.
The carol is called Joy TO the world… but what about Joy FOR the world? God came to earth incarnate… FOR you and me.
“The Bible talks plentifully about joy, but it nowhere talks about a “happy Christian.” Happiness depends on what happens; joy does not. Remember, Jesus Christ had joy, and He prays ‘that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.'” — Oswald Chambers
Try to find some time to reflect on all the blessings in your life. As you seek joy this Christmas, consider that God sent His Son – joy incarnate – to the world – and for the world. Praise God for His awesome gift. Oh, and may I add… praise God for His awesome gift that is yet to come! 🙂