When it comes to "joy", I have had some confusion over the years.
Some of my confusion comes from growing up in the Seventies and having Three Dog Night's song, Joy to the World, forever downloaded in my musical brain. I always wondered about this bullfrog named Jeremiah being a good friend to someone. And then there is that melody that we all could probably join together in singing..."Joy to the world, all the boys and girls. Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea, joy to you and me."
Not too many years later, there came a time when that song became secondary as I came to love the hymn, Joy to the World, by Issac Watts. There was no mention of a bullfrog named Jeremiah, but there are these words that would cause me to pause and think: "...while fields and flood, rocks, hills and plains, repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy, repeat, repeat the sounding joy". Fields, floods, rocks, hills and plains repeating sounding joy over and over again? That also seemed a little odd, until...
Then I discovered the following: Firstly, Watt's "Joy to the World" was not written as a Christmas hymn. No mention of a manger or an infant or of Mary and Joseph. In the truest sense, Joy to the World is more of an Advent hymn as it was written to draw attention to Christ's coming again. And secondly, it was based on Psalm 98 using some of the imagery we hear from the Psalmist: "Let all the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains rejoice out loud together before the Lord because he is coming to establish justice on the earth!" (98:8)
So as we come to the 3rd Sunday in Advent, we will light the candle on the wreath that represents "Joy". And this Sunday, we will look more deeply into 'joy' and take time to look and listen to "Joy: The Sounds and Sights of Joy". All I know is I am ready. I am ready to join all of God's creation to "repeat the sounding joy", to "clap our hands", and to "rejoice out loud together" like never before. I am ready for "joy" to come to the world...to all the boys and girls.
Join us this Sunday and come expectantly for a time of rejoicing for all that is coming soon! See you Sunday!