Day 12 🌲 Joy to the World

silhouette of a girl with her arms raised with a bright light beaming on her depicting joy

I saved my second favorite Christmas carol until the last day, the 12th Day of Christmas Carols & Scripture. For me, the song’s message is not just for Christmas. It evokes the kind of praise we should have all year long. Many of us are certainly ready to receive our King when he comes again! In the meantime, as we find ourselves in the day to day grind, how do we keep our praise alive?

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
let earth receive her King;
let every heart prepare him room,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

We keep that praise alive by remembering what Jesus has done, is doing, and will continue to do. We can join right in with the heavens and nature, too, singing praise and being ready. Jesus is alive!

I love that this song was inspired by two great psalms (96 and 98). Years before Jesus’ birth, the people were getting ready. All these years later, we have double the joy, when you think of it. We have the joy of remembering Jesus’ first coming. What a miracle to behold! But we also have the joy of knowing Jesus is coming back to bring us home with him forever! Won’t that be something?

Psalm 96:11-12 wants us to know that it’s not only us who can praise God. This song evokes joy from creation. “Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy.” That defines the notion of joyfulness on a whole different dimension. That’s the kind of joy I want to surround myself with.

Psalm 98:1 should get your heart pumping. “Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power!” That’s what Jesus has done for you. He has won the victory over sin and death. He led the way and is waiting for the perfect day to bring us home with him forever. No more sin, pain, despair – none of it! Gone! Oh the joy!

Joy to the world! the Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ,
while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

Psalm 98:4 also speaks of joy, and that same joy is available to us! “Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy!” How can we be joyful? Because Jesus is coming to judge the world in a way only he could. Our God, our sweet baby Jesus, will be the one to finally make things right.

It does us good to remember God doesn’t promise us a problem free life. Sometimes people think that “we Christians” have it all together. Ha! You’ve probably heard this – but we’re just as broken as the next guy. (Not shocking!) What sets us apart as Christian is that we KNOW we need a Savior, and we know our Savior is Jesus!

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.

There are so many Bible verses that promise us God’s protection, provision, love, strength, etc. Psalm 121:2 says, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” That “help” covers a lot of things. I’m sure you have some favorite verses, too. I always love to hear from you when something speaks to you, or when a verse has changed your life. Those stories are great!

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.

Psalm 98:9 says, “He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with fairness.” Isn’t that what everyone is crying out for these days? Fairness and justice. I’m not sure it exists in the earthly realm. But we can be sure that it does in God’s economy. As followers of Christ, we are assured that Jesus is not only truth himself, but he is just.

Joy. Do you feel a little more joyful after reflecting on these lyrics and the Word of God? I know I do. I think we should all try to keep our focus on praising God with our worship, how we live our lives. Jesus came to bring joy to the world all year. Christmas season or not, this is the truth – the Lord IS come!

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray. Lord, I feel a little overwhelmed with the beauty of the Christmas season and thank you for speaking to my heart, even through the lyrics of beloved, century old carols. Help me to stay focused on praise and thanksgiving, feeling the joy you bring burning inside. Your salvation is near. Thank you for holding me and guiding me.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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