Psalm 98:4-6 (ESV)
4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody!
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!
Some of our favorite Christmas carols aren't actually carols at all--they're hymns! One of those hymns is "Joy to the World," written by Isaac Watts as a paraphrase of Psalm 98, about "The Messiah's coming and kingdom." But why do we sing a hymn based on an old psalm at Christmas? Because that's what the psalm says to do! Psalm 98 is all about singing a new song to God, who promised to "judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity." Ultimately, God fulfilled that promise by sending a king unlike any other king, who would save people from their sin and sadness--that king is King Jesus! So when we celebrate Christmas, we're celebrating when God kept his promise with the birth of Christ Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
And what does "Joy to the World" tell us to sing? We sing about being there in the moment of Jesus' birth, and announcing that the King that God promised is coming. We sing that we should prepare our hearts for him, and that because Jesus is king the whole creation should sing. This new king brings joy and he will remove sin and sorrow, and then he will let his blessings flow like a river "Far as the curse is found." That means that wherever there's sin, Christ our King will fix it, and he will rule over his creation with truth and grace, and all the nations will sing about his righteousness and love. Although this is a great hymn to sing year round, it's also a great one to sing at Christmas because it reminds us of the joy that Christians should have as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.
Dear Lord, we thank You for the time of the year we can celebrate Your birth. May we spread that joy to those around us this Christmas season. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.