‘Joy to the world’ (Isaac Watts)
The Psalmist wrote, ‘Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise‘ (Psalm 47:1 ESV), and ‘Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad‘ (Psalm 96:11 NIV) and, ‘Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth‘ (Psalm 98:4 NIV).
So what the Psalmist is really telling us, is that we should be joyful with our God, and to praise Him.
Between the years of 1674 and 1748, Isaac Watts wrote the wonderful words to this marvellous carol, ‘Joy to the world’. It has been over 260 years since then, and we are still singing the words that were inspired by the birth of a special child, foretold in the book of Isaiah,
‘For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace‘ (Isaiah 9:6-7).
It happened over 2000 years ago, and it affected many of the people in the surrounding area, and some were changed because of it.
Today, and in the years between, have also moved the hearts and minds of men, women and children, and people are still moved by Him and the truths found within the wonderful treasure that is the Bible.
At this time of year, we sing, ‘Let every heart prepare Him room‘, and about, ‘The glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love‘, and also, ‘Repeat the sounding joy‘, (Joy To The World). These are fantastic words of both praise to our God, and encouragement for others.
‘The First Noel‘ (Anon), angels came to inform local people about the birth of a baby, Jesus. This was a special birth and every-body needed to know; and everybody still needs to know today, possibly more so with today’s society.
In modern times, there is more today that can draw us away from God, with social media and modern trends of ‘self first’, but Paul reminds us;
‘Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world‘ (Romans 12:2 ESV); rather, we are to be, ‘transformed by the renewal of our [your] mind‘ (v 2 NLT).
That is why it is so important during this Advent, that we are open to the moving of His spirit in and around us. We also need to be prepared to wait on Him, and be joyous in the waiting, and joyous in the hope that He brings to mankind.
We need to live-out the peace that we can have when we surrender our lives to the Lord of All.
We need to be full of the joy that can only come when we have a fully committed relationship with our Lord, the only person that can help and save us.
2000 years ago, wise men came seeking the new-born child;
‘Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea… … that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived asking “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?”’ (Matthew 2:1-2 NLT).
And what about now?
‘And wise men still seek him, their King and Messiah… … as their hearts filled with love for Jesus their saviour and their King’ (Wise men still seek Him – SATB version – Lindy Kerby – 2001).
Only Jesus can truly help us, and so we sing;
‘And fit us for Haven to live with thee there‘ (Away in a Manger – Anon).
My Jesus, my Saviour
Lord, there is none like you.
All of my days I want to praise
The wonders of your mighty love.
My comfort, my shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength,
Let every breath, all that I am,
Never cease to worship you
Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of your name
I sing for joy at the work of your hands,
Forever I’ll love you, forever I’ll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have in you.
My Jesus My Saviour
Darlene Zschech ©Hillsongs 1994
Father we thank you for the joy that comes from relationship with your Son who came to this earth to atone for all of our wrongs, please help us to be worthy of his sacrifice, help us to walk close to you and talk to you and know you truly in our hearts always.