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Joy To The World!

         That night there were
shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly,
an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory
surrounded them. They were terrified,
 
but the angel reassured
them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great
joy to all people.”
Luke 2:8-10.

         Thanksgiving is
recognizing and celebrating the ultimate Joy coming through the birth of Jesus,
the Son of God, so long ago.  Thanksgiving
is a celebration of celebrating the gifts given by our Most High God.  Abraham Lincoln declared, the recognition of ‘the
peace and productivity of our land are the gracious gifts of the Most High
’. (AbrahamLincolnonline.org).
He proclaimed the first Thanksgiving on October 3, 1863 for the following 4th Thursday of November.  Giving thanks for the gifts God gives of
His Glory to His children.  Thanksgiving
leads directly to the Joy of Jesus and His Birth. The ‘Amen’ of Christmas is
found in the joy of Thanksgiving to those belonging to the Family of God.
         Although the
hymn was not written as a Christmas carol, it is usually sung at Christmas
time.  The 98th Psalm is the
focal point for the verses of this hymn.  
Sing a new song to the Lord, for He has done
wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; His holy arm has
shown his saving power! The Lord has announced His victory and
has revealed His righteousness to every nation!
Psalm 98:1-2. His right hand,
His holy arm, His victory, and His righteousness is the wonder of these two
verses. He wrote Joy to the World, in 1719, as he sat under a tree near London.
         As I pondered which hymn to choose for
this blog, my daughter, Anna, suggested this hymn.  Who wrote these verses?  Isaac Watts. 
As a young man he told his father that the church hymns were too
difficult to sing. His father suggested to his son, “Maybe you can make them
better!”  What era did Isaac Watts live? 1674-l748.
         George Handel lived from 1685-1759,
writing the oratorio, Messiah, in 1741 fifty-six of age. It was first performed
in Dublin, Ireland. Handel longed to write something meaningful. He prayed and
meditated, and then wrote the entire oratorio in twenty-three days.  The lyrics proclaim – And He shall reign forever and ever, HALLELUJAH! King
of kings and Lord of lords, FOREVER!”
         Astounding
music – a new song! Another man writes from his heart these verses at about the
same time.
“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 earth! 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.”
         God’s purposes are not thwarted. In His
Time, He combines the two together through another man, one hundred years
later.  Lowell Mason, a music publisher,
wanted to publish the beautiful poem of Isaac Watts.  He needed a musical setting.  When Mason heard the beautiful melody in
Handel’s “Messiah,” he knew this would enhance the lyrics to praise God.
         “For I know the plans I have for you,”
says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a
future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen.
” Jeremiah
29:11-12.
         As the season approaches to be thankful…I
ask, why only one season? With eyes open, I see God’s Gifts of Life and Love
all around us every moment of every day.
         Psalm 100:1-5 – Shout with joy to the Lord,
all the earth! Worship the Lord with
gladness.
 Come before him, singing
with joy.
 Acknowledge
that the Lord is God!  He
made us, and we are his.  We are his people, the sheep of his
pasture.

 Enter
his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give
thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the Lord is good. His unfailing
love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
         Colossians
3:14-15 – Above all, clothe yourselves with
love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 
 And let the peace that
comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are
called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
         2 Thessalonians
1:15-17 – Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this
is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
         Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with
all your heart;
do not depend on your own
understanding.
Seek his will in all you
do,
and he will show you which path to
take.
         Psalm 9:1-2 – I
will praise you, Lord, with
all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
 I will be filled with
joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
         Psalm 144:15 – Yes, joyful are
those who live like this! Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord.
         Psalm 37:4 – Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you your heart’s desires.


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