Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Joy to the World

This last Sunday I shared why Joy to the World is one of my favorite Christmas carols. In typical fashion, I didn't write it out and so stuttered and hemmed and hawed, struggling to articulate the words in my head. 

This is what I was trying to say.

I love advent. I cherish the time of preparation, the solemn darkness of the weeks leading up to Christmas. I'm glad we don't skip over advent and rush straight into Christmas, missing all the nuances, all the reasons why Christmas is. We reflect on the peace, hope, joy, and light that Christmas will bring. And we long. Oh, how we long. O Come, O Come Emmanuel! It speaks to my heart, advent does.

And this year advent has felt particularly important, relevant, needed. But it's also felt extra dark. The darkness that we live in both figuratively and literally is heavy and thick. We need no reminders. We are already longing for the light.

But sometimes I long so much for peace and hope and light I forget about joy. How dare we dream of joy when peace and love and even basic kindness seem so far from reach? Joy is audacious. Joy is a luxury. How do we sing of joy in a world so broken?

I feel comfortable in advent - ruminating, praying, hoping, expecting. I know how to live here, waiting for the light to come.

I'm not so good at proclaiming that the light HAS come to a world still so dark.

But at Christmas we rejoice! We are given a reason, THE reason to rejoice, and the joy is undeniable. We claim it. We proclaim it. We sing Joy to the World and we remember that there is joy - great joy and we rejoice. As we should.


Joy to the World reminds me of my Grandpa, a most joy-filled man. I can hear him singing loudly, swinging his arms and holding the notes longer than everyone else for extra emphasis. Joy to the World reminds me of times spent singing Christmas carols around my mom's piano and it reminds me of a drive home from the mountains when Adam and I sang carols a cappella with my grandparents the whole way home. It reminds me of Grandpa leading the Christmas Eve service when he would visit our church in Calgary and how we'd end with candles and Silent Night. But as I remember it, Joy to the World was the real finale, the most fitting way to end a Christmas service. Because... JOY also, has the final word.

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 sin 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.



Ron & Joan said...

Beautiful and poignant Sheri - as always. And - do you picture your Mom's tears as you write - you should.

tiiioens said...

I love advent. I cherish the time of preparation and I have joy to this world. We know far away that the curse is here but we can solve it. And I am Joyce from Louis Vuitton iPhone 6S Plus Case site.

Panharith said...

Beautiful and poignant Sheri!

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