And the angel said unto them, For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10,11).
At Christmas time we celebrate the birth of Christ, an occasion of great joy, for it marked the beginning of the redemptive work of our Savior, which is Christ the Lord. No other hymn is more enjoyed at this season than Joy to the World. As we use its words to direct our thoughts, we may be surprised by its theme. Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her king; Let every heart prepare Him room, And heaven and nature sing.
The presence of the Lord brings joy to those who follow Him, and it did so even before His birth (Luke 1:44). When Mary was carrying Him in her womb, she exclaimed, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior (Luke 1:46,47). When He came, there was no room for Him in the Inn (Luke 10:7), but if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:9). Truly, we can make room for Him in our hearts.
But was He welcomed as King? No, He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3), and in just a few, short years was crucified for claiming to be King. It has been many times prophesied that the LORD shall be King over all the earth (Zechariah 14:9), and that all creation shall rejoice. Sing, O ye heavens: shout you lower parts of the earth! . . . ye mountains (Isaiah 44:23).
Thus we see that this favorite Christmas hymn is not looking back to His first coming, but forward to His second coming (Titus 2:13). When the Lord is come, it will mean joy to the world. JDM