The Christmas Carol That is not a Christmas Carol
It seems that one of the favorite things for most of us to do during the Christmas season is to sing the old Christmas carols. Each year our church organizes a carol sing This year we walked through the town handing out a Christian DVD to those we passed as we sang the carols in the streets of Bellefonte. Last year we visited a large apartment complex for the elderly and stopped at each door to offer our often imperfect renditions of the songs of the season. Again, at the Sunday service on Christmas day we sang our favorite carols. Included were Silent Night, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, Angels We Have Heard on High, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Joy to the World, and many others.
Oh, wait! Did I say Joy to the World? Well, we did sing it - each and every time. And why not? It certainly is a staple among the carols known and appreciated by all. But I prefer to think of Joy to the World not as a Christmas carol, but as a song to be sung all year long. A quick look at the lyrics will make it clear that this is not necessarily about the Christmas season.In fact, Joy to the World is really about the second coming of Christ and His millennial reign.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Obviously earth did not receive her King at Christ's first advent, nor have we yet to receive Him. Scripture tells us that right now satan is the god of this world, but when Christ returns in His glory He will be King. I can hardly wait!
And Heaven and nature sing
At Christ's first coming nature was still in disarray from the curse of the fall, just as it is today. But the day is coming when all nature will sing of its glorious Creator and the lion will lie down with the lamb.
Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Although Christ came to set men free, he has yet to reign in most hearts, much less world government. Oh, but praise His name - the day is coming when He will sit upon the throne of the world. Repeat the sounding joy.
No more let sin and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.
While all of the creation groans today - while sorrows fill our hearts and thorns replace the beautiful, there is a day perched on the horizon when the curse will be lifted and the wonderful blessings of our God will flow unhindered.
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love.
I believe the time of Christ's return is closer than we think. Rather than singing Joy to the World only at Christmas time, perhaps we ought to consider making it the theme of the New Year. As Isaac Watts penned the words to this beautiful song, he had something deeper in mind and 2017 could be the year. Happy New Year to all of you and Joy to the World!