Joy to the world! The Lord is come: let earth receive her king;
Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing.
We celebrate the birth of Christ, God’s coming to live among us, during the darkest time of the year in the northern hemisphere. Our often glorious sunrises and sunsets this time of year, the stars on a cold, clear night, and the Christmas lights shining through the darkness in the open country all help 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 our hearts and minds, I invite you to join me in looking each of these twelve days for instances of the joy that runs through all of creation, especially through experiencing the beauty and wonder of God’s world.
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, and they help to strengthen our connection to God.
Joy to the world! The Savior reigns; let us our songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains, repeat the sounding joy.