Let heaven and nature sing…
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 beautiful skies of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Nebraska echoed our joy in the celebration of the birth of Christ, the Incarnation of God come to live among us. The Christmas Eve sunset, the stars in a clear sky on Christmas Eve, and the abundant sunshine on Christmas Day gave us light during the darkest time of the year, helping us to understand John’s Gospel (John 1:5): “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
We Episcopalians celebrate Christmas for twelve days. With “Joy to the world” in my heart and mind, I’m looking each of these twelve days for the beauty and wonder in God’s world, for instances of the joy that runs through all of creation. During a walk today, I was surprised by a hawk that flew out of a nearby tree and glided on the steady southwest breeze.
Our Christmas Gospel from John (John 1:1-14) begins by articulating the connections among God’s creation of the world, Christ, life, and light:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The wonders of the world around us not only help us stay connected to joy; they also remind us that God is God, the creator and sustainer of all that is in the entire universe.
He rules the world with truth and grace, and make the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness, and wonders of his love.