When I was little, I loved any song with the word joy, mostly because my middle name is Joye (pronounced joy), and I liked the idea that people were singing about me.
One of the most common Christmas carols with the word joy is “Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts. Surprisingly, Watts’s inspiration was not Luke 2, the account of Jesus’ birth, but Psalm 98, a psalm that praises Christ for His imminent return. That’s right: one of our favorite “Christmas” songs is actually about Christ’s second coming.
As I reflected on Christmas this year, I decided that “Joy to the World” is an appropriate Christmas song, even if it refers to the second coming. At Christmas, we celebrate Christ’s birth, which fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah. While Christ was on earth as a man, He paid for the sins of the world, and He freed us from the dominion of sin. Salvation is worth celebrating!
Nonetheless, we cannot forget the second part of this story. Christ will come again, and He will ultimately defeat the enemy. At that time, He will “rule the world with truth and grace.” We can celebrate Christmas because we know that Christ’s work on earth will be completed at His second coming.
God promised that the Messiah would come, and He did. Jesus promised that He would return, and He will.