Welcome to the fourth week of The Christmas Carol series! This week’s featured title is “Joy to The World.”
JOY. Sometimes it is mistaken for the ever popular, but temporary bliss. JOY is certainly a form of delight, but from a faith perspective it offers us something more. It is sacred, eternal, and often unspeakable.
No wonder we see this three-lettered tiding on everything from cookies to clothing at Christmastime. It captures the emotion and meaning of the season. I have an obvious connection to the word. But during my childhood, seeing my name displayed in so many places felt odd. However, I knew the celebration was not about me.
Although my name is Joy, I can’t imagine what it is like to be JOY – the essence of elation for all of humanity. But this week’s carol, “Joy to The World” declares why each of us can have JOY. As God’s only Son, Jesus came into the world so we could receive forgiveness and eternal life.
But the song doesn’t just make a great announcement; it tells us the greatest response.
“Joy to the World the Lord has come. Let earth receive her king! Let every heart prepare Him room.”
The JOY of knowing Jesus comes to those who trust in Him as Savior and Lord. And although joy is an emotion, I believe it should be a way of life. Perhaps this is why the songwriter writes, “Let every heart prepare Him room.” Once we invite Christ into our hearts it’s not for a visit; it’s for eternity.
And yet, I must continually make room for Him to counsel, correct and comfort me. Sometimes room for Him is made after a good cry or a gut-wrenching confession. But it always happens when I surrender to the joy that knowing Him brings. His JOY saturates the soul with the greatest delight – experiencing the presence of God.
God’s presence was experienced in many ways the first Christmas. However, Luke 2:9-11 tells us what happened to shepherds tending to their flocks at night.
“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” – Luke 2:9-11
I can imagine the shepherds stepping out from behind their fear and standing in amazement. Seeing the glory of the Lord and hearing the news of the newborn Savior must have been indescribable. They were among the first to experience the “great joy for all the people.”
This kind of joy not only offers us soul satisfaction; it is the response to our soul’s salvation. It gives us strength to believe in the greatness and promises of God. If your life has collided with a joy-stealer, you may know what I mean. Hearing sad news, failing to meet a goal, or facing our worst fears may make joy seem scarce.
But faith in Christ holds onto JOY. It’s not always an easy grip, but choosing to hold onto my faith allows me to see how much God is holding onto me.
If you’re looking to have joy in your world too, here’s some good news: JOY is ours because the Lord has come and He came for you and for me. Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Jesus — the reason for hope in the heart and JOY to the soul!
”You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” – 1Peter 1:8-9 NLT