Summary: Christmas is about the joy found in Christ
(adapted from Bob Russell)
SERIES: “CHRISTMAS CAROL THEOLOGY”
TEXT: PSALM 98
TITLE: “JOY TO THE WORLD”
INTRODUCTION: A. Christmas can be quite stressful
--planning parties, buying just the right gifts, preparing elaborate meals
1. Instead of bringing joy, it can bring frustration
a. If you allow it
b. If you focus on the wrong things
2. A woman was in the mall doing her Christmas shopping. She was tired of
walking through every aisle of every store to find just the right present. She was
stressed out by the mounting debt on her credit card. She was tired of fighting the
crowds and standing in lines for the registers. Her hands were full and when the
elevator door opened, it was full. “Great!” she muttered and the occupants of the
elevator, feeling her pain, graciously tightened ranks to allow a small space for her
and her load.
As the doors closed she blurted out, “I think whoever came up with this
Christmas junk ought to be found, strung up and shot!” A few others shook their
head or grunted in agreement. Then, from somewhere in the back of the elevator
came a single voice that said, “Don’t worry. They already crucified him.”
3. Christmas is not about us
--It’s about how God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son that
whoever believes in Him might have eternal life
4. Christmas is about joy in Christ
C. The edgy entertainer Madonna was once asked, "Are you a happy person?"
1. She replied, "I am a tormented person. I have a lot of demons I am wrestling
with. But I want to be happy. I have moments of happiness. I am working towards
knowing myself, and I am assuming that will bring me happiness."
2. So many people are searching for happiness but not really finding it.
--We have access to so much in the way of possessions, entertainment, education,
but still are not fulfilled.
D. The Bible does not really talk much about happiness, but it does say much about joy.
--Joy has a deeper meaning than happiness.
1. Happiness has to do with what happens to you and fluctuates according to
2. But genuine joy overrides circumstances.
--Joy is an inner sense of well-being that abides when circumstances are
E. Almost 300 years ago Isaac Watts wrote the hymn titled, "Joy to the World."
1. Although it has only a veiled reference to the birth of Jesus ("The Lord is come; let
earth receive her king"), it is considered a Christmas carol.
2. But, actually, it was inspired by Psalm 98.
--Ps. 98:1-9 – “Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has
made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has
remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of
the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Shout for joy to the LORD , all the
earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the
harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the
ram’s horn- shout for joy before the LORD , the King. 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.”
3. So lets take a look at the song "Joy to the World" by stanzas and review the
reminders about what still brings genuine joy to life today.
I. The first stanza teaches: THERE IS JOY WHEN THE KING IS RECEIVED
--"Joy to the world! The Lord is come! Let earth receive her king; let every heart prepare Him room, and
heaven and nature sing."
A. Not everyone was joyful when Jesus was born.
--King Herod was not happy.
1. He learned first about the birth of Jesus from the magi, a group of foreign astronomers who came to
his palace searching for a new world ruler.
2. Herod was troubled. He was paranoid, so much so that he had already murdered three of his own sons.
He was not going to tolerate a rival king even if he was an infant.
3. There are still many who reject Jesus as king because they see Him as a threat to their selfish desires,
individual freedom, insatiable greed, and intellectual pride.
B. In contrast to Herod, the wise men received Jesus as a king.
1. Who were these wise men?
--advisors both good and bad