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Last weekend, our family watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Joy isn’t the first word that comes to mind when I think of this movie. The movie is more about dysfunctional family humor most of us can relate to in one way or the other. There is however a scene in the movie when Clark Griswold (played by Chevy Chase) bursts out in a “stirring” rendition of Joy to the World as he gets ready to plug in the outdoor Christmas lights for the family. If you remember the scene, Clark has worked for hours attaching lights to every square inch of his house. He staples them to the roof. He staples them to the gutters. He wraps them around the chimney. He wants to make sure the Griswold family has the best Christmas ever, and part of this includes have the brightest house in the neighborhood. After hours and hours of labor, he is ready for the “house lighting ceremony” with his family. And this is when he begins.to sing. Clark is so excited to show off the fruits of his labor. Perhaps, Joy to the World is the best way he had to express his joy and expectation as he prepared to light the house.
It’s my understanding Joy to the World was not actually written as a Christmas hymn. It was an expression of thoughts by Isaac Watts after he read Psalm 98. The song was written in expectation of Christ’s second coming. ADVENTure is all about expectation. Do we have our expectations centered in the right place? Do our expectations cause us to well up with joy? These are questions worth pondering today.
ADVENTure Activity: Think about a time when you were expecting something. What were your feelings and emotions during this time? Tell someone about your experience. Feel free to share in the comments.
ADVENTure Question: During this Christmas season, what are you expecting? What gives you joy?
Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.