Summary: The joy of Christmas past, present and future.
“Joy to the world! The Lord is come—Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing.”
Jesus is come to earth as a King and is to be worshipped and praised and honored.
“Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains repeat the sounding joy.”
Jesus is ruling and reigning on the earth. People are singing His praise to the point that all creation is echoing in.
“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.”
He is here to put an end to sin and suffering. He is here to undo the curse that God placed on the earth as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin.
“He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.”
Jesus is sitting on the throne and ruling and reigning the world. All the nations of the world bow before Him and recognize His righteousness and love.
When Isaac Watts wrote that hymn in 1719, he didn’t write it as a Christmas song. As a matter of fact, he published it in a book called, “The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament.” He didn’t write it as a Christmas carol, he wrote it as a paraphrase of the 98th Psalm. And the 98th Psalm isn’t talking about the first coming of Christ. It’s talking about the second coming of Christ. When Jesus came the first time, the earth didn’t receive her King. John 1:11 says that He came unto His own and His own received Him not. When Jesus came the first time, He didn’t come as our reigning Savior. Isaiah 53 says that He came as a suffering servant. When Jesus came the first time, He didn’t come to reverse the curse. He came to atone for it. He came to pay for it with His blood. When Jesus came the first time, He didn’t rule and reign on the earth. In John 18:36, Jesus answered to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” Jesus didn’t come the first time like that. That’s not what happened that first Christmas morning. But since that’s not what happened that first Christmas morning, does that mean we can’t sing Joy to the World? Of course not. Because even though Isaac Watts wrote the hymn about Jesus’ second coming, it is still based on the joy that comes from Jesus’ first coming. Many of you met my father-in-law when he was in last week. I remember when Sonny still worked as a mechanic for the power plant there in Pueblo. Because of the nature of his job, the eye doctor prescribed him a special pair of glasses. They were upside-down tri-focals. At the time, I had never heard of tri-focals, much less upside down ones. But they were set up with three lens strengths. When he looked through the top, he could see things close up. When he looked through the middle, he could see things at normal distance. And when he looked through the bottom, he could see things far away. They were opposite because all of his close up work was done over his head while trucks were on the lift. But the glasses had three distinct views. He could look at the same thing and see it three different ways based on the lens he was looking through. That’s the way Christmas is. Silent Night is a wonderful Christmas song because it talks about the joy of Christmas past. The Joy of that holy night when God came to earth wrapped in the flesh of a baby. Go Tell it on the Mountain is a wonderful Christmas song because it talks about the joy of Christmas present. The joy of telling the whole world the good news of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. And Joy to the World is a wonderful Christmas song because it talks about the joy of Christmas future. The joy of Jesus’ second coming. The time when He will rule and reign. The time when He will remove the curse of sin and sorrow. The time when every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. So, let me ask you—do you have tri-focal joy this Christmas? When you see all the trappings of Christmas around you, do you see three views of Christmas joy? You can. All you have to do is look through three lenses. The first lens sees the joy of Christmas past.