Christmas is a celebration directed to the entire world. Not everyone is Christian or celebrates Christmas, but everyone should understand why it exists. Every person in the world should know that the good news of Christmas is directed toward them. Consider this Christmas song, written by Isaac Watts in 1719. I can’t get it out of my head. I keep singing it over and over.
Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King:
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sin.
Joy? This morning I awoke to the news of a car that deliberately plowed into a crowd, injuring 19 people. Even though it happened far away, in Australia, people around the world are grieving along with me. It’s more like “sadness to the world”. The Internet makes it more difficult for anyone to insulate himself from the misery that others are experiencing in distant lands. How can I be happy when so many others are suffering?
Did Jesus only bring existential joy? Poverty, starvation, oppression, and injustice are widespread in our modern world. 41 million people struggle with hunger in the United States alone. Is this as good as it gets?
Watts was a prodigy in his time and a puritan dissident. He was also amillennial, because nearly everyone was in his day. He saw joy in the first coming of Jesus because many people were making Jesus king in their hearts and living godly lives. That’s why he wrote, “Joy to the World, the Lord IS come!”
I, like many others, look forward to a future return of Jesus when he will rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I would add another verse, “Joy to the World, the Lord WILL come!” Thinking of that day is what brings me the most joy.
The birth and life of Jesus was like a movie trailer. We’re still waiting on the full version to come out. It will be more spectacular than “Star Wars”. The promise of a Messiah is the promise of justice for everyone. Angels announced it from the sky:
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10)
That makes me happy. That makes me sing “Joy to the World”.