Wednesday, December 26, 2012

end of the Advent season

Actually, since Sarah has a book about the Twelve Days of Christmas and since we do have a download with activities to do on Epiphany, I guess the season isn't really over yet.  ;)  Our tree is still up, and we're still using Christmas plates and mugs.  Still, December 25 has come and gone, the presents have been opened and exclaimed over, so Christmas Day is officially done for 2012. 

I've sung the Christmas carol "Joy to the World" pretty much my whole life, and to be honest I never really thought much about the lyrics.  I think it was last year that I looked at some of the words and thought, "Hmm, that sounds really postmillenial in nature.  How interesting."  It added an extra layer to the song for me as I contemplated those latter verses.

Since we can't print anything at our house right now, we decided to forgo our usual Advent Bible study activities (which have to be printed) in favor of a series of videos from Holy Heroes, a Catholic organization.  One thing that the videos brought out that I had never considered before is that Advent is not only celebrating the first coming of Christ but also longing for and looking toward His second coming.  We can still sing "O Come O Come Emanuel" with all of its words of yearning, because we are waiting for Him to come again.  The recent tragic events in Connecticut drove home just how desperately we need His return to put things right. 

A Facebook friend noted a couple of weeks ago how much she was enjoying a particular rendition of "Joy to the World."  A friend of hers commented that the song was originally written about Jesus' second coming, not His first.  I can't really vouch for the veracity of that claim, but suddenly some of those lyrics from the other verses make so much more sense. 

I'll close with the lyrics to "Joy to the World," and you can decide for yourself.  Until then, we can join together in both celebrating His first coming and longing for His second.

Joy to the World, lyrics by Isaac Watts, 1719
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.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

"Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."  Rev. 22:20b 

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