Joy to the world! The Lord is come: let earth receive her king;
Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing.
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.
Holly is traditional for Christmas decorating, something we absorbed from older winter solstice traditions. The holly’s glossy green leaves are a welcome sight in the winter. Besides bringing some color to the winter landscape, the green holly reminds us of the coming spring, when places that are now white or brown will again be green.
When the temperature had finally climbed up to about 15 degrees today, I went out and found parts of our little cold hardy hollies poking through snow drifts that sparkled with ice crystals.
Seeing the holly brought to mind part of Psalm 96 from our Christmas Eve celebration:
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea thunder and all that is in it;
let the field be joyful and all that is therein.
Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy before God, who will come,
who will come to judge the earth.
And along with the perhaps better known carol, The Holly and the Ivy, it also brought to mind this traditional carol from Cornwall:
Joy to the world! The Savior reigns; let us our songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains, repeat the sounding joy.