“Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her king”
This is one of the most recognizable Christmas carols we sing during this season. It proclaims a call to celebrate with joy the reality of Jesus coming into our world and saving us from our sins. It’s interesting to discover that the original focus of the hymn writer was on Jesus’ second coming, the day when the Lord will return to set up his eternal kingdom once and for all time. Over the years this carol has become a standard for acknowledging Jesus’ first coming to earth, beginning with his Bethlehem birth.
This overlap actually fits nicely into the Advent theme. Our English word advent is a translation of the Latin word ‘adventus’ which means ‘coming’. It also ties in with the Greek word ‘parousia’ which means ‘return’ and generally refers to the second coming of Christ. Waiting in hope for the Messiah is clearly a part of both events. So when Jesus came to earth at the first Christmas, there was every reason to experience joy because the wait was over. And it is still a waiting time as we anticipate Jesus the king coming again for those who are prepared for him. Then too there will be more joy.
This Sunday I will speak to you about having joy as part of everyday living in relationship with Christ. We will take a look at the joy that John the Baptist experienced to the full through his relationship with and obedience to Christ. He had been told by God that he would have the honour of introducing Jesus to the world that was waiting for the Saviour. And when Jesus arrived on the scene, John’s joy was made complete. The wait had been well worth it.
John’s parents had also been waiting long before John was born. They had faithfully served the Lord even as they carried a disappointment with them over the years. They were not able to have children because of Elizabeth’s barrenness and in their later years they assumed they never would. But God did a miracle for them and they became part of God’s plan to save the world. The son that God gave them became an instrumental player in the preparation and beginning season of Jesus’ earthly ministry. And as a result, John and his parents experienced pure joy.
Today, you and I have the best reason to have joy that goes deep in us and sustains us no matter what we go through. We have Jesus and he is the ultimate source of our joy. In one way, the waiting is over. Jesus has come and has taken care of sin and its negative effects on us. So we rejoice as we celebrate Christmas.
At the same time we also wait for Jesus to come again to take us to be with him to live with him throughout eternity. When he does return our waiting for that day will be finished. Advent is then complete. The Christmas carol will still apply and will be appropriate to sing. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her king.”
All is well…..see you Sunday.