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Archive for December 18th, 2020

It is sung every year in churches all around. As a matter of fact, it is said that Joy to the World is the most published Christmas song. Yet, it is was not written as a Christmas Carol, nor was it even a song.

Isaac Watts ‘song’ was published in a book in 1719, as a poem. A hundred years later, the melody is believed to have been written by Handel. But it was not until Christmas of 1836 that Lowell Mason introduced this, ‘arranged from Handel’ song to America and the world fell in love.

The words were formed from Watts conviction that the Psalms and the New Testament are intricately intwined through the life of Christ. This joyful poem turned song originated in Psalm 98 and was not written as anticipation of the Messiah, but of the second coming of Christ.

The lyrics are words of triumph, victory. Of good overcoming evil, of righteousness overcoming the sin of the world, of death defeated and of the start of the ultimate reign of Christ. There is reason to celebrate!

It is in the final stanza that the virtues that this return of Christ heralds …

truth.
grace.
righteousness.
(wonders of His) love.

These are the leadership model of the God of creation … firm handedness, cruelty and control. He will rule all of the world, exemplifying the power in truth, grace, righteousness and love.

To some these virtues can be seen as examples of weakness, of missing the strong arm of God. Yet they describe Jesus, who is the truth, grace, righteousness and love (the greatest commandments) personified. It is he who is not just our Saviour and Lord, but also our example.

Our world is now being introduced to a vaccine that (is hoped) will being to bring this pandemic to an end. The joy that this brings for our future is great, and worth celebrating. Yet a greater savior is coming to save our eternal futures … joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let Earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing!

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

“God by his righteous judgment
will bring the whole earth
from a state of sorrow
into a state of salvation and joy”
Hengstenberg

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