Joy! To the World!

Joy! To the World! The Lord is Come!

This is the carol I focused on this Christmas season. The devotion on YouVersion that I did from Just Joy Ministries certainly kept my focus on the carol, but it was more than that. The words from various verses kept coming up in my thoughts.

The wonders of his love…
Let earth receive her King…
Repeat the sounding joy…
He rules the world with truth and grace…

And the punctuation in my mind was always, Joy! To the World!
Speak Joy. Shout Joy. Sing Joy.

Paul Baloche sang a version this year with these added lyrics:

Shout for joy
See what love has done
He has come for us
He’s the saving one.

A few years ago, Chris Tomlin added these lyrics to the carol:

Joy, unspeakable joy
And overflowing where no tongue can tell
Joy, unspeakable joy
Rises in my soul, never lets me go

Jeremy Camp adds a chorus of :

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Christ is born!

Then one Sunday at church this year, the Worship Team led us in a free form singing of the carol, where we each sang lines as they came to our hearts, in what ever order the Spirit was leading us to sing. (If you’ve never sung in a free form, singing words as they come into your heart, I urge you to do this. Start in the privacy of your own home with a song you know well, then add your own words, or take the words and meditate on them as you sing and offer them up to the Lord as a sacrifice of praise.) That is what we did that morning. And it sounded something like this:

Joy! To the World! He rules the world with the wonders of His love!

Let heaven and nature sing of the wonders of His love as open hearts receive him.

The Savior reigns! The glories of his righteousness will rule the world with truth and grace!

The melody was there, the words were there, but moved around, I got all new meanings and understandings to the words of this carol. And each of us present heard and sang something different, yet the angelic choir of voices singing brought a sweet sound to the altar of the Holy One.

Every time I sang the carol this year, my heart was touched. Every time I heard it played, my heart was touched. He indeed comes to make his blessings flow! He does indeed rule with truth and grace! His love is indeed wonderful! And heaven and nature is constantly singing praises to God.

JOY TO THE WORLD- “Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:9-11 NLT)

THE WONDERS OF HIS LOVE- “Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies.” (Psalms 17:7 NLT)

HE RULES THE WORLD WITH TRUTH AND GRACE: “Let the rivers clap their hands, the mountains shout with them for joy, Before the Lord who comes, who comes to govern the earth, To govern the world with justice and the peoples with fairness.” (Psalms 98:8, 9 NABRE)

AND HEAVEN AND NATURE SING- “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” (Psalms 19:1 NLT)

Golden Sunset, California

Golden Sunset, California

Joy to the World by Isaac Watts

Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, 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.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

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Quiet Reflection a Necessity

I’m a Doctor Who fan and BBC America ran a marathon leading up to the Christmas episode last night. One of our recordings captured Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message to the Commonwealth, and it is a message we all should listen to and well, reflect upon.

She began by telling of a man who, because of being in a cast, had to sit and do nothing for a year. Yet, at the end, he found he had learned much about himself. She said, “We all need to get the balance right, between action and reflection.” She talked about her reflections this year, her 60th anniversary as Queen.

I found I have something in common with Queen Elizabeth- the need for reflection. At this time of my life, I have much to contemplate. Decisions to make, the right way to feel about a situation, how to deal with difficulties and anxieties, ever changing health, family dynamics, and the list goes on. At the core for me is my relationship with Jesus. Reflecting and meditating on scripture and how to apply it to my life today is important to me. Remember that word in the Queen’s message – balance? Balance is also something that I’m dealing with these days. How to balance action with reflection, but also what actions I should be doing. 2014 will be an interesting year as I work through and reflect upon these things.

Queen Elizabeth ended her message with this: “For Christians, as for all people of faith, reflection, meditation and prayer help us to renew ourselves in God’s love as we strive daily to become better people.

The Christmas message shows us that this love is for everyone. There is no one beyond its reach.

On the first Christmas in the fields above Bethlehem, a s they sat in the cold of night watching their resting sheep, the local shepherds must have had no shortage of time for reflection.

Suddenly all this was to change. These humble shepherds were the first to hear and ponder the wondrous news of the birth of Christ. The first Noel, the joy of which we celebrate today.”

Amen, Queen Elizabeth!

The message ended with the playing of The First Noel.

It would be worth watching the entire video, in my opinion. Here is one place you can watch it:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/christmas/10536980/Watch-the-Queens-Christmas-Day-message-2013-in-full.html