1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1: 1-5)
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 World, the Savior reigns! Let men 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, 1719)
The day has dawned! Sometime in the night, God tiptoed into the world and made a home. And the world will never be the same again. Most of us barely noticed. Most of the world woke this morning and went on with their lives. That’s OK. If God had wanted fanfare, then I supposed God would have come with a bit more flourish and drama, perhaps calling ahead or something. But instead, God enters as one of us, quietly slipping the Divine into our midst with as little noise as possible. (Although I suppose it’s hard to enter quietly with a multitude of angels in tow!)
When Isaac Watts first wrote the familiar Christmas carol “Joy to the World”, he didn’t mean for it to be a carol at all. The words were originally written to celebrate the triumphant second coming of Christ rather than the birth that we celebrate this morning. I think that’s the reason it works, though. God’s coming into the world is not merely something that happened more than 2,000 years ago. Today is not the celebration of the anniversary of Jesus’ birth as if it is some sort of historic relic that we hold; rather, today–THIS day–IS the coming of God into our midst, the realization that even now, Heaven is spilling into our lives, making a home, and Heaven and Nature are singing together.
God comes quietly, tiptoeing into our lives each and every day of our existence. A new Light has dawned and every day is Christmas! So when the Holy and Sacred dawn in our life, are we called to join in loud acclaim, or are we called to silently open our our lives and let the Divine spill in? With all respect to Mr. Watts, I’m not a big watcher of the “Second Coming” of Christ. I don’t know what that looks like and the Scriptures are not that specific about it. I think the point of Christmas is that the Lord is come (as in already)! God came quietly into our world as the Christ child more than 2,000 years ago. It was the First Day of the new dawn. And the Light has been rising each every day since. And for every heart that quietly opens and makes room for God to tiptoe in and make a home, the Light becomes brighter. Rather than waiting for God’s coming, let us see that God is here. Let us see that every day is Christmas. (And, along the same lines, perhaps every day is the triumphant coming for which we are looking until God’s Kingdom and the recreation of all is complete!) Joy to the World! The Lord is come!
The Lord is come! Let us now go and see this thing that has taken place!
The Christmas spirit is that hope which tenaciously clings to the hearts of the faithful and announces in the face of any Herod the world can produce and all the inn doors slammed in our faces and all the dark nights of our souls, that with God all things still are possible, that even now unto us a Child is born! (Ann Weems)
Thank you for joining me this season as we prepared ourselves for this glorious day! Now it’s time for me to take a little break! I’ll be back every day during Lent (which is incredibly soon this year!) and perhaps I can get my act together to post some other posts in the meantime! Have a joyous Christmas! (Because THAT season has just begun!) And keep dancing to God!
Grace and Peace,