Joy to the world!
Shout to the Lord, all the earth;
break out in praise and sing for joy!
Sing your praise to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song,
with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn.
Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the earth and all living things join in.
Let the rivers clap their hands in glee!
Let the hills sing out their songs of joy
before the Lord,
for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
and the nations with fairness. Psalm 98:4-9 NLT
The announcement of the birth of Jesus was not heralded with fanfare. In fact, the first ones who received the news as well as the people involved surrounding His birth were all ordinary people. We often think in our society that to have an impact we must be connected ourselves to the forces of earthly power. If only Christians controlled the media and social media! If only Christians ruled the nations! Yet, God’s way is often very different. This is what we have in the Christmas narrative; God took the obscure and poor people and use them to transform the world. God promised to provide a Savior. It was through Christ’s incarnation and His perfect identification with humanity, taking on our nature, though without sin, that He could provide salvation. He is perfect in regard to temptation and identifies with us as a real man. “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him” (Hebrews 5:8–9). Though without sin, He took our sins upon himself, thus, becoming “sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.” (1 Peter 2:24). This is the Good News! Whatever situation we have, whatever pressure we are going through, He is there to be with us and to deliver us. And because Jesus lives forever, “his priesthood lasts forever…he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf” (Hebrews 7:24–25). This is why when the angel announced the birth of Jesus, he said, “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people” (Luke 2:10). As one of the most famous and joyous Christmas hymns, “Joy to the world,” it emphasizes the joy Christ brings when He was born. At last, it happened! “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness” (John 1:14). When Isaac Watts wrote the Christmas hymn, he was expressing the future anticipation that the Messiah will be recognized the God of the whole earth. It declares the salvation that the birth of the baby born in a manger has provided, removing the curse of sin. When the hymn first appeared, the title given was “The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom.” For years, hearts have been longing for the appearance of the Savior and one Christmas morn, it did! May this Christmas, His message of love and hope fill our rejoicing as we meditate anew God’s great gift of His Son. He provided us the only way where we could be freed and saved from sin and experience eternal life.
“Joy to the world! the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; let ev’ry heart prepare Him room, and heav’n 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.”