I went to hear the Kansas City Symphony for the first time this Christmas season. While I enjoyed each selection they performed, I think the highlight for me was their rendition of Isaac Watts’, “Joy to the World.”
Little did I know that the lyrics to Watts’ hymn were based upon the last part of Psalm 98, and put to music originally written by Handel. Even more interesting to me was the fact that Watts intended the hymn to celebrate not the lowly birth of Christ, but His triumphant return! As I recall the words, “He rules the world, with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness,” I can see that they better fit a ruling King, than a helpless newborn.
As I listened to this magnificent carol being played, however, my mind kept reciting the opening verse. “Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room.” I wondered silently if I was personally ready to “receive” my King. Had my heart prepared Him room? “Receive” carries the notion of personally welcoming to one’s own side; to embrace as a close companion.
Have I personally welcomed Jesus as my close companion, allowing Him to walk by my side each and every day? Have you? Oh, the joy that is ours when we do! –Dave
“Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.” (Psalm 98:8-9)
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