Tuesday, December 22, 2015

JOY TO THE WORLD!

"Joy to the world" has to be one of my favorite hymns this Christmas season. It was written in the 18th century by Issac Watts who was the author to many, many hymns. What surprised me is that he did not write this hymn for Christmas but instead to be a reflection on Christ's second coming. In theory during Advent our reflections should not just be focused on the coming Christ child but also what we affirm in our liturgies that "Christ will indeed come again." This should give us a deep, resounding hope and joy.

I think of these words in the midst of a world in political turmoil. Liberal Christians dislike Conservative Christians and vice versa. I just sigh, "Lord, have mercy" when I hear political chatter in the hallways of  the church. We are angry, frustrated, and defensive and most of all exhausted and depleted at the state of the world and most likely the state of our lives.

"No more let sins and sorrows reign nor thorns infest the ground; he comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found." Jesus is coming to make us new and to restore our joy. He is coming to remind us that he still does amazing work even in the presence of the Herod's of the world (whoever you think Herod is...).

The last line I think is one that we ought to pay attention to the most. He "rules the world with truth and grace". If he rules the world... what is it that we are afraid of? He rules the world with truth and not fear and grace not judgement. We are reminded this advent season that we have less to be afraid of the future and much more to be hopeful about it. Jesus' coming was never a promise for us to have no problems or challenges but was one where we recognize we don't have to go at it alone anymore and that God will be with us and empower us in the struggles we all continue to face.