The Third Sunday of Advent approaches with a traditional focus on joy — which, like peace last week, is one of the elements of the Fruit of the Spirit. The joy brought through the Fruit of the Spirit is a happiness that goes beyond the ephemeral happiness brought by the world. The joy of Christmas exceeds the happiness that comes with opening presents or even being a gift-giver.
“Joy to the World” is a popular Christmas carol and is one of the most-published hymns in North America. The song, written by English writer Isaac Watts, celebrates the arrival of Jesus. The upbeat verse hearkens to Psalm 96 with the words “and Heaven and nature sing.” The true joy is found in the final stanzas reminding us that Jesus came to make his “blessings flow far as the curse is found” and that we will see the “glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love.”
Psalm 96: 11-12
11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. 12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice.