JOY to the World

Isaac Watts about 1719 was inspired by the middle phrases of Psalm 98,

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
    break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
    with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
    make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.”

Lowell Masson about 1848, inspired by Handles Messiah of 1742, combined Watt’s verse with pieces of Handle’s music to produce the most published Christmas hymn in North America in the 20th century. 

         The third week of Advent focuses on a theme of JOY.  We dug deep pondering how joy manifests itself in Matthew’s version of the Christmas story.

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let Earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

           “Joy to the world, the Lord is come” echoes the song of the angels to the shepherds but also echoes in the angel’s message to Joseph that he need not fear to take Mary as his wife for she was carrying the promised Messiah, “God with us,” Emmanuel.  Whatever challenges face us this Christmas we can have an inner joy knowing we are not alone and God is with us.
         “Let every heart prepare him room,” is the challenge as we hurry and scurry to prepare for the social events and church events.  May we find time to draw aside and focus on a savior who is not in the manger anymore but is in our world, walking through our challenges with us!
         “And heaven and nature sing,” calls us to praise at this time.  We can rejoice because we know the end of the story is not told.  Death no longer can claim the victory.  I chose a video clip with the Pentatonix.  They don’t fit the stereotypical children’s choir as they sing “Joy to the World” and challenges us that the Joy of Christmas is for all people. God is filling our cup and we are drinking from the saucer!

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