Saturday, November 30, 2013
JOY TO THE WORLD! THE LORD IS COME
Dearly Beloved, JOY TO THE WORLD! THE LORD IS COME “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:10-11 NIV). We are in another Christmas season! It has been a season set apart to commemorate the birth of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ over two thousand years ago. Undoubtedly, the season is one of the most celebrated seasons throughout the world. Interestingly, there have been many arguments for and against the season. Some say that the season has a pagan origin. Others rightly observe that December 25 could not be the birthday of Jesus Christ. However, most people that celebrate the season devote it to the birth of Jesus Christ. No matter your position about the season, the birth of Jesus Christ was an historical fact, and is worthy of celebration not only during this season, but throughout the year. In 1719, Isaac Watts (1674-1748), also known as the “Father of English Hymnology”, wrote the lyrics of one of the most popular Christmas hymns that explains the reasons of the birth of Jesus Christ. The title of the hymn is “JOY TO THE WORLD! THE LORD IS COME.” Ironically, Watts never intended his hymn for Christmas use. Instead, he simply intended to paraphrase the words of Psalm 98: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music... Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity” (verses 4-9 NIV). In fact, Watts wrote the lyrics of this hymn as a hymn glorifying Christ’s triumphant return at the end of the age, rather than a song celebrating His first coming. Nevertheless, the hymn is also suitable for His first coming. It is indeed joy to the world that the Lord Jesus Christ has come to make His blessings flow as far as the curse of sin is found. It also is joy to the world that the Lord Jesus Christ will come in the future to rule the world with truth and grace, and make the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love. People of all races should, therefore, rejoice and celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ. However, as you are rejoicing, you should prepare room for Him in your heart. Yes! Prepare room for Him in your heart especially at this Christmas time when so many things can distract you from your faith. Remember Christ’s first coming as a humble King and Saviour. Reflect on the certainty of His return as Judge over all. As you think on these precious truths, you will experience the best feeling of all - the joy of knowing "the Lord is come" into your heart. In His service, Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor). Prayer Point: Pray that you will indeed experience the joy of the coming of Jesus Christ to the world.