“Joy to the World, the Lord is come.” – Isaac Watts
“Joy to the World,” a beloved Christmas classic, turns 300 this year. Composer Isaac Watt’s interpretation of Psalm 98 invites us to sing a “new song”–and it is a powerful cosmic performance of all creation being renewed and freed. Rather than “joy” being yet another word for “happiness,” we will discover that the depths of joy can be found especially in the midst of suffering, the work of justice, and the presence of compassion–all part of the coming of Jesus to this world and a message the world still so desperately needs.
Make a joyful noise to the Beloved
all the earth; break forth into grateful song
and sing praises! Yes, sing songs of praise extolling
Love’s way; lift up your hearts with
gratitude and joy!
– Psalm 98 (translation, Nan C. Merrill)
“As we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreak without being broken.”
– Desmond Tutu