Imagine your ideal, most picturesque Christmas setting. You know, you have seen The Hallmark movies. Everything is perfect; snow is gently falling (except the Larry Levinson productions, which always seemed to be set in Southern California). Well-dressed and better behaved children gather. Parents are patient and calm…
Picture the day before Christmas at our house. My loving wife is wearing herself out in the kitchen, baking and preparing delicious treats for future holiday meals. This is a true act of love – she has an acute case of bronchitis and is pushing herself to complete her “holiday enjoyment.” The packed scheduled guests is rapidly deteriorating – grandchildren have upset stomachs, coughs and achiness. Expected visitors have family members with sudden serious medical conditions. The local weather forecast calls for light rain, but I was recently outside and witnessed high winds, heavy rain and fog! Further, my Dragon dictation software is not functioning nearly as well as advertised on television. It refuses to recognize my voice and is conflating and confusing every other word – frustrating beyond measure! I could go on but you get the picture by now. Things seem far from idyllic – chaos and confusion appeared to rule the day.
Now it’s time to think about my favorite Christmas Carol. Stanzas 3 and 4 seem very fitting.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come…
Joy to the world! The Savior reigns…
No more let sins and sorrows grow Nor thorns infest the ground He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found Far as the curse is found Far as, far as the curse is found
He rules the world with truth and grace And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness And wonders of His love And wonders of His love And wonders and wonders of His love
The words and lyrics of the old Christmas carol ‘Joy to the World’ were written in 1719 by Isaac Watts (1674-1748). Watts was ordained as a Pastor of an Independent congregation. He wrote many hymns and Carols and was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree by the University of Edinburgh in 1728. The music to the carol is by George Frederick Handel (1685-1759).
So, special thanks to Isaac Watts and G. F. Handle to help put things into perspective. The Lord bless you and give you his peace this Christmas.
“And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.” (Luke 1:67–80, ESV)