‘Joy to the world‘
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 the Psalmist is telling us to 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. 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 people and some changed because of it. Today, and the years in between, have also moved the hearts and minds of men and women, and people are still moved by Him and the truths found in the Bible. 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. There is more today that can draw us away from God. Paul reminds us, ‘Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world‘ (Romans 12:2 ESV); instead, 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 is us, and be prepared to show Him, and the hope that He brings to mankind. We need to show 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. Only Jesus can truly help us, and so we sing ‘And fit us for Heaven to live with thee there‘ (Away in a Manger – Anon).
HOPE, PEACE, JOY & LOVE
Bildad replied to Job by saying; ‘He [God] will fill yet your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.‘ (Job 8:21 NIV). Even at his lowest, Job knew deep down in his heart, that God had not left him. We know, in our hearts that God will never leave us, even though we, as with the Hebrews, need reminding some times, so Paul did just that, ‘God has said, “I will never abandon you”‘ (Hebrews 13:5 NLT – remember this). We need to trust God, He is with us, and will give us what we need, when we need it. In His time, not ours. He has a plan for our lives (Job 29:11). We may see troubles in our personal lives, or through the lives of other people’s around us, but our life will be put back onto an even keel; ‘from the depths of the earth you [God] will bring me up‘ (Psalm 71:20 NIV). In all we do we should remember ‘God is our refuge and strength‘ (Psalm 46:1 NLT), and we should ‘Shout with joy to the LORD… … Worship the LORD with gladness‘ (Psalm 100:1-2).
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
Lord we thank you for the joy that can only be found in you. We know that you are with us always, and will never leave us, we also know that you watch over us, and have a plan for each of us. Lord help us to fully rely on you, and you alone, help us to look to you and what you give us daily, and to see the cost of following world. Lord you are truly an awesome God, loving and kind, help us to be loving and kind too.
Lord we know the words to many carols, and we sing them year after year. Help us to truly encounter you through the singing of them, help our lives to be transformed by the words and by what they stand for. Lord help us daily, to look to your life as an example of what ours should look like, and help us to be better people.