Joy to the world – it’s Christmas time!

Friday December 16, 2016 Written by Published in Church Talk
The birth of Jesus is central to the message of Christmas, echoing the sentiment expressed in the hugely popular carol, Joy to the World. 16121510 The birth of Jesus is central to the message of Christmas, echoing the sentiment expressed in the hugely popular carol, Joy to the World. 16121510

"JOY TO THE WORLD" is a popular Christmas carol. The words are by English hymn writer Isaac Watts, and are based on the second half of Psalm 98 in the Bible. The song was first published in 1719.

 

As of the late 20th century, "Joy to the World" was the most-published Christmas hymn in North America.

The interesting feature about this song is, the only stanza that is related to Christmas and the birth of Jesus, is the first one that announces ''the Lord is come.'' There is no mention of Mary and Joseph, the angels, the shepherds, the manger, or the wise men. Yet, it is one of our most beloved Christmas carols because it really captures the essence of Christmas, which is joy.

If you were to ask anyone on the street to specify the most joyful time of the year, without any question, it would be agreed that Christmas and the festive season is that time.

What gives us the most joy during the Christmas season?

For some it’s being able to get home to their families and spend some quality time together, and for some it’s the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping although it can be a little stressful as well. Christmas music in the air, wrapping presents, putting up the Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree is always fun. It’s an opportunity to greet friends who you have not seen for some time and hugs and kisses are plentiful.

Joy can also be found in random acts of kindness that can be joyful for both the receiver and the giver, Church services are well attended and Christmas provides some with another opportunity for the year to attend a church service.

Preparing food is normally a chore but becomes a labour of love because of the company that is present and because of the season. Prayers are uttered and Christmas hymns are carolled, love, service and compassion abound as we celebrate this wonderful time of the year.

Thomas S Monson says, “Christmas is a glorious season of the year. It is also a busy time for most of us. It is my hope and prayer that we may not become so caught up in the pressures of the season that we place our emphasis on the wrong things and miss the simple joys of commemorating the birth of the Holy One of Bethlehem.

 “Finding the real joy of Christmas comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done. We find the real joy of Christmas when we make the Saviour the focus of the season.”  

It happened on a clear eastern night over two thousand years ago, the shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock, received that glorious manifestation from a heavenly messenger.

And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

(Luke 2:10-11)

Centuries have rolled by, but the events which happened that night have remained with us throughout the ages.

The Angel Gabriel proclaimed, ''I bring you good tidings of great joy.''

The word for good tidings comes from the Greek word that gives us the word evangelism, which means, ''to bring good news.''

What was the “good tidings of great joy” that the Angel declared? What was the good news that was announced? What was the joy that was bestowed upon the earth and its inhabitants?

Tidings of great joy:now there is a statement rich with meaning. God brings us all tidings of great joy, not just tidings of joy, but great joy. There is something for us to celebrate; Jesus Christ was born to save you and me from our sins, our weaknesses, our shortcomings and bad habits. To deliver us all from the grasp of the adversary and set us free, through His atonement and ultimate sacrifice and the power of His resurrection. The ancient prophecies were fulfilled, He was born a King, He was born the promised Messiah, He was born Christ the Lord.

My friends, Christmas is a time of great joy, a time to rejoice because of the babe of Bethlehem born in a manger who is the only begotten of the Father, the Son of God.

Tidings of great joy were declared to all mankind to save and deliver us, to save and heal us, to give us all comfort and joy, and in His name we rejoice.

This is why Christmas is truly a time of joy to all the world.

“Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

Let earth receive her King.”

            John Mateara

            The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

 

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