“Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

A question that only had one answer. Our Director of Worship Katie Andrade phoned me up the other day to talk about Christmas Eve. “What hymn do you want right after your sermon?” She asked. My answer, “Joy to the World.”

I have dozens of favorite Christmas carols and hymns. “Joy to the World” may not even be among my favorites. But it is the only answer when it comes to what I want to hear after hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ proclaimed from this or any pulpit. God came down to earth to live among us. Joy. The savior is born. Joy. This is a message for all people of all places and times. Joy. Joy to the whole world.

The season of Christmas, as I have written about during my reflections this week, encompasses the wide range of human emotions. The holidays, perhaps unlike any other time, brings them all out—from stress to elation. But there is only one emotion I feel when I hear the story of Jesus’ birth. Beginning with the Angel Gabriel and ending in the manger all covered with hay where the little Lord Jesus lays down his sweet head, I feel joy.

This joy bubbles up from within me, as I realize once again that Emmanuel, God is with us. This joy crashes over me like a wave, as I realize that God chooses to come close to us, to live among us. This joy radiates through me, as I realize that God loves the world so much that being a tiny helpless baby was part of God’s plan.

And the hymn “Joy to the World” just nails that feeling. “Joy to the World, the Lord is come, Let earth receive her King.” And with that all heaven and all nature can’t help but sing out—sing out with joy.

Peace in Christ,

Pr. Dan Joyner Miller