Joyful, Joyful

I’ve watched this video several times today and each time end up with tears in my eyes. The melody is Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and the words are from the poem Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee by Henry van Dyke. It’s not a christmas hymn, but it is a beautiful reminder of the joy that surrounds the advent of Christ.

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, brother love binds the Holy Trinity
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.

—Henry van Dyke

The Zeal of the Lord of Hosts

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

—Isaiah 9:6-7, ESV

Joy to the World – Sojourn

One of my favorite Christmas albums is Advent Songs from Sojourn, a church family here in Louisville. I really enjoy all of the songs, but Joy to the World is my favorite.

You can listen to the studio version on the player embeded below…

Recently Jamie Barnes and Brooks Ritter performed the song at LifeWay and you can view their performance below…

Merry Christmas everyone!

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled:
Joyful all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies,
With the angelic host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem:
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King.

Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb!
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel:
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King.

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings;
Mild, he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth:
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King.

—Charles Wesley and George Whitefield

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Christmas

Who among us will celebrate Christmas right? Those who finally lay down all their power, honor, and prestige, all their vanity, pride, and self-will at the manger, those who stand by the lowly and let God alone be exalted, those who see in the child in the manger the glory of God precisely in this lowliness. Those who say, along with Mary, “The Lord has regarded my low estate. My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

—Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Mystery of Holy Night

Via: Tony Reinke

R.C. Sproul – The Glory of Christmas

On the night Jesus was born something spectacular took place. The plains of Bethlehem became the theater for one of the most spectacular sound-and-light shows in human history. All heaven broke loose.

Luke tells us what happened:

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:8-14)

The angelic visitor was surrounded by the glory of God. The glory was shining. This glory did not belong to the angel himself. It was God’s glory, signifying His divine mode of being. It was the divine splendor that shrouded the heavenly messenger, a visible divine radiance.

When the shepherds of Bethlehem quaked in fear, they were admonished by the angel: “Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11, NKJV).

Every human being longs for a savior of some type. We look for someone or something that will solve our problems, ease our pain, or grant the most elusive goal of all, happiness. From the pursuit of success in business to the discovery of a perfect mate or friend, we make our search.

Even in the preoccupation with sports we show a hope for a savior. As a sports season ends with far more losers than winners, we hear the cry from cities across the land — “Wait till next year!” Then comes the draft or a new crop of rookies, and the fans pin their hopes and dreams on the new kid who will bring glory to the team. The rookie, the new client, the new machine, the news that will arrive in tomorrow’s mail — all are invested with more hope than any creature can possibly deliver.

The burst of light that flooded the fields of Bethlehem announced the advent of a Savior who was able to do the task.

We note that the newborn Savior is also called “Christ the Lord.” To the astonished shepherds these titles were pregnant with meaning. This Savior is the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah of Israel. Every Jew remembered the promise of God that someday the Messiah, the Lord’s anointed, would come to deliver Israel. This Messiah-Savior is also Lord. He not only will save His people but He will be their King, their Sovereign.

The angel declares that this Savior-Messiah-Lord is born “unto you.” The divine announcement is not an oracle of judgment but the declaration of a gift. The newborn King is born for us.

—R.C. Sproul

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog