Summary: We should carry our Joy in everything we do. Our joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit and when we are less than joyful we are squashing that spirit. Joy to the World is not just for Christmas, but for all year long!
Scripture is shared from the NASB...
We just sang Joy to the World as a praise song, and I think we did a pretty good job of it. I’d like to try this exercise together if you would indulge me for a moment. Let’s sing that first verse again, only let’s do it with a scowl or a frown on our faces… It’s on pg 135 of our hymnals if you need the words in front of you. “Joy to the world, the Lord has 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.”
How many got through the whole thing with a frown? We sang the proper words, but with a frown on our faces, this is what people might hear…
Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let blah, blah blah blah blah I don’t want to sing this song, its really not something that I believe… fa la la la la…
Let’s try it again with a smile on our faces…
Joy to the world, the Lord has 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. Did that feel better, or did it hurt? You don’t have to answer… I believe I already know that answer.
The word Joy itself is difficult to say without a smile, unless you’re like Eeyore and go through life like everything’s a chore and nobody really cares. Oh joy, here I go walking down the street, wonder who I’ll meet… joy oh joy…” We laugh at this, but how many followers of Christ fit this description?
The definition of Joy is “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” Can you feel great pleasure and happiness and not have a smile on your face? Perhaps you can. For me though, when I even have a thought of great pleasure or happiness it puts at least a grin on my face.
In the NASB, the bible I use for my study, the word Joy is used 182 times. Surprisingly, at least to me, it is used twice as much in the Old Testament as it is in the new.
The Gospels record the feeling of joy in connection with the proclamation of the good news of the kingdom: for example, at the Savior’s birth (Luke. 2:10) The angels that appeared to the shepherds said “Do not be afraid; for behold I bring you good news of great JOY which will be for all people;” Jesus’ birth was a great joy for all people. Now, the birth of a baby is a joyous occasion in a family, but this birth is a joyous occasion for all people. This announcement came to the lowly shepherds, not to the kings and noblemen, not to the Pharisees and Sadducees. This shows who God was trying to reach in my opinion. He wanted to reach the marginalized so that they would know this gift was for them as well as everyone else. He went to the ones that had no sense of entitlement, who appreciated the beauty of this gift, the value of this gift and the meaning of this gift.
How about at the triumphal entry as Jesus was coming in to Jerusalem Mk. 11:9 “Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting: "Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD”, again, this was anyone and everyone that followed Him. They didn’t send out an RSVP invitation to this impromptu parade. When they were shouting do you think it sounded like this? (Do Eeyore impression…) Or like this? (With a smile and joyful.) It was with great joy! The people were anticipating the arrival of The King that would change the world as they knew it and were ecstatic in anticipation of what was to come.
After the resurrection Mt. 28:8 “And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.” We know that those that found the empty tomb were already full of fear because Jesus had been crucified, they saw Him die. They say Him placed in the tomb, and now they saw that He was no longer there… fear and great joy it says. Joy because He had done what He said He would do. He came back.
In John chapter 15, it is Jesus sharing the word joy, talking about being the true vine, to stay connected to Him and bear fruit, and in verse 11 He says, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” It now becomes the result of a deep fellowship between the church and Jesus.