January 23, 2018

Joy To The World

phssChristmasgraphic2014
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 Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love

Pentatonix
Written by Isaac Watts ~ Music composed by Handel

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He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Luke 19:40 ESV

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord.
Psalms 96:11-13 NJKV

Joy

Defined by Merriam-Webster as:
1a) the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight
b) the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety
2- a state of happiness or felicity : bliss
3- a source or cause of delight

Based on these definitions, joy is something to be achieved, and is fleeting or short-lived.  But is that how the Bible defines joy?

Let’s start with where our joy come from. Psalm 16:11 NASB says

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

Jesus is our joy!  His birth makes it possible to have constant permanent joy in our lives though the Holy Spirit.  Look at these Scriptures:

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him
Romans 15:13 HCSB

But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is…joy
Galatians 5:22 AMP

…the joy supplied by the Holy Spirit;
1 Thessalonians 1:6 AMP

And the disciples were continually filled with joy
Acts 13:52 NASB

When we believed in Jesus…when our ‘hearts prepared room’ for Him…the Holy Spirit entered our hearts and joy is one of the many fruits He provided.

 Joy is within us – continual joy.

Jesus’ birth is the beginning of constant, permanent joy in our lives. Our joy is not tied to our emotions or our circumstances. Our joy is tied directly to our Savior, Jesus Christ, and our relationship with Him.  Joy lives within us.

God brought joy to the world in the form of an infant named Jesus. That joy is still with us today. As Luke 19:40 says, even if we remain silent, the stones will cry out.  Psalm 96:11 reminds us that even heaven and earth sing.

Shouldn’t we, too, then ‘repeat the sounding joy’
as we celebrate ‘the wonders of His love’?

Joy To The World

phssChristmasgraphic2014

 

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heav’n and nature sing
And heav’n and nature sing
And heav’n, 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
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, 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
Far as the curse is found
Far as, 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
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders, of His love

Written by Isaac Watts; Arrangement by Lowell Mason

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Sing a new song to the Lord, for He has done wonderful deeds.
His right hand has won a mighty victory; His holy arm has shown His saving power!
The Lord has announced His victory and has revealed His righteousness to every nation!
He has remembered His promise to love and be faithful to Israel.
The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
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 NLT

As I was researching this song I came across the following excerpt on its history:

“The text of Joy to the World was originally titled “The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom” when it first appeared in Watt’s Psalms of David Imitated of 1719. It was his interpretation of Psalm 98 which read in the King James Bible, “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” Watts connected the joy found in the Psalm to the worship and praise of the coming Messiah. The song was conceived by Watts as a poem celebrating the second and final coming of Jesus but as we know, it has become a precious Christmas carol for the churches. It would not get set in its current musical form until a Jersey born son named Lowell Mason put his musical arrangements to the hymn in 1836.”

I find it interesting that this was written about Christ’s second Coming but has become a beloved carol celebrating His first Coming.  Yet it all ties together neatly, for without the first Coming there would be no second Coming.

As I was reading all of this, God prodded me with a question,

“Have you prepared room in your heart?”

My first response was “Of course!”  I accepted Christ as my Savior as a child.  But God made it clear He wasn’t talking about that.  He wanted to know if I had made room in my busyness for Him.  Ouch!  Why is it we become so consumed with the shopping, the gifts, the preparations, and the celebrations we forget the joy?  Joy is found in what Christ has done for us not in what we do to celebrate His birth.  It is a gladness, an exultation that leads us to rejoice.  Look at Psalm 92:4 NLT…

You thrill me, Lord, with all You have done for me!
I sing for joy because of what You have done.

That’s what Christmas should be about.  We should be so thrilled at the reminder of all He has done that we cannot contain our joy!   We have to sing.  Our excitement as we recall the wonders of His love is to be shared.

The light in the eyes [of him whose heart is joyful] rejoices the hearts of others…
Proverbs 15:30a AMP

Have you made room in your heart for Him?
Is the light in your eyes bringing joy to someone else?

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Lord, we thank You for this wondrous time of year.  Remind me to check my heart and make sure there is plenty of room for You instead of getting caught up in my own busyness.  Bring to mind the wonderful things You have done for me.  May I reflect the joy of what You have done.  In Christ’s name, I pray – Amen, it is so!