|Today's post appeared six years ago, during my first year of blogging, and has been a Christmas tradition since.|
One of my favorite Christmas carols is Joy To The World. The words are by Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98: "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth; make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for He cometh to judge the earth, with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity."
Some say the song is not about the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, but about His second coming. The joy that is sung about, then, is a future joy that will occur when Christ returns, to “make the nations prove the glories of His righteousness,” in that full expression of His Kingdom yet-to-come.
This may be what Watts had in mind, but the song makes as much sense to me as a celebration of Christ's first coming. While I’m looking forward to that full and perfect expression of the Kingdom-yet-to-come, I’m also celebrating Christ's King-domain already here. Jesus is Lord of all. Today! Not just in the future, but at this present moment (Acts 10:36-37).
Christ's Kingdom hasn't fully arrived, nor is it perfectly realized yet. This will happen when Christ comes the second time. But the domain over which Christ is King (that is, His King-domain) includes both heaven and earth right now. He is holding it all together by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). Today.
This is the greatest Christmas gift: that Christ came “to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found.” His blessings flow through people who are reconciled to God, and who, in turn, are reconciling all things to Him, including the things of earth, far as the curse is found. Today!
This is the big idea behind Christmas. (See Col. 1:16-20, and To Reconcile Not Only People But Things.)
So, no more let thorns infest the ground. By God's amazing grace, let's go back to work after Christmas, to pull up some bramble bushes and plant some redwood trees.
Joy to the Earth! 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!
Far as the curse is found.