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Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25, 2016

Today's Hymn

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 earth, the Savior reigns!
Let all 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.

Isaac Watts’s “Joy to the World” (tune: Antioch)
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Joy! Do you feel joy this Christmas morning? I wonder. Nothing much has changed since yesterday. The news is still the news. The family struggles still exist. The worries about the world, or the children, or the parents, or the job are still present. And now this morning even the glossy wrapping has been ripped off of the packages and is strewn about the house.

So what is the joy we’ve sung about in this glorious hymn? The dictionary definition of joy is “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune.” What is our good fortune?

My good fortune is knowing the Christian story. I know the stories of Jesus. I’ve been able to see and hear and read about how he navigated through this world during his short human life. I know that a baby born into the poorest of poor environments has value. I know that the one I claim as Savior consistently reached out to the poor and to the outcast. I know that the rules of the world and the rules of our governments aren’t the final rule. I know that death and suffering are not the end of the story. I know that there is a justice beyond any justice I can imagine in which all people—all people—are truly God’s children.

So, yes, the world seems to be in disarray sometimes. And people struggle with a whole host of challenges. But our joy comes from knowing the life of Jesus. He is the one we’ve waited for. He is the one we keep trying to follow. His message is what we keep working toward. So, yes, I can sing “Joy to the world. The Lord is come.”

 Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. May you feel the joy of knowing the Lord.

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for coming to be our guest. Help us be hospitable to you. Remind us of the joy we have in knowing you. Help us spread glad tidings to this world. Amen.

Written by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

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