One of my favourite Christmas Carols, by far, is ‘Joy to the World’ – for me it sums up what Christmas is all about. ‘Joy!’ The word in itself is not used much in everyday language – it means a feeling of delight, great pleasure and jubilation! Although it is, of course, about being happy – it is beyond happy, joy goes deeper and isn’t dependant on external factors.
It’s such a shame that Christmas makes so many people stressed or anxious, whether they be unable to afford all the material things involved, or the season reminds us of a lost loved one, or the indulgence of the festivities puts a burden of temptation on recovery from an addiction.
Such a shame, because this season is all about joy. Something the Disciple John wrote in the Bible sums up why Jesus came as that baby, which we celebrate at Christmas, he wrote: ‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes will not perish but have eternal life.’ Knowing ourselves to be loved this much brings a sense of joy our circumstances can’t take away.
There are certainly many circumstances in the world around us that are joy-less, but Christmas can serve to remind us that with an attitude of love for our fellow humans, we could make the world a better place – a joy-full one.
The whole of creation sings out with joy at the coming of the one who will save souls and offer an eternal existence with the Creator who, above all else, loves us. The Carol says: ‘(God) rules the world with truth and grace…and wonders of his love.’ The message of Christmas truly is all about love, and if we could get to a place of love amongst peoples we would know a deeper joy.
Pastor and Author Rick Warren says: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”
In this Carol we sing ‘Let every heart prepare him room’ – praising with a good Christmas Carol opens our hearts to make room for God to bring in peace, comfort and joy.
I wish you all joy this Christmas, and if you want to join me and others from our community in singing ‘Joy to the World’ and other Carols then do come to our Carol Service on Sunday 22nd December at 6.30pm.