I’ve thought for many years that my favorite Christmas carol is It Came Upon the Midnight Clear. It tells the whole Christmas story and I especially like some of the old words and expressions, “cloven skies,” “prophet bards,” “encircling years,” etc. I often think about encircling years as my days turn into weeks and soon it’s another new month and before long we’ve circled back to start a new year. But I digress. I love that carol and for years I’ve claimed it as my favorite.
This Christmas season has been so different for me. Due to bad weather and my friend’s illness, and a change in the usual church service schedule, I’ve missed Sunday morning service twice this month. In the church I attend, we sing the Christmas carols during the month of December. In the Episcopal Church, where my friend goes, they only sing Advent songs during December, and none of them are familiar to me. I don’t know if they only sing the carols at the Christmas Eve service or not, but this year I’ve not been in on carol singing in church services.
Last Sunday I saw that our first hymn of the morning was Joy to the World. I was filled with anticipation to sing this carol and let the joy of that music fill me up. And then Pastor said that he was going to change things around and not go by the bulletin. Guess what he eliminated. Joy to the World. I’ve thought about it since then and this morning I have started to wonder if maybe my favorite carol really is Joy to the World. The disappointment of omitting that carol stayed with me so long. I really do like it a lot.
This week I heard again that Joy to the World wasn’t written to be a Christmas hymn but soon it became identified with Christmas. I can see why and yet I can see that it is a good hymn for the whole year. I think we should sing it at least once every month. This morning I’ve been singing for my own enjoyment, Joy to the World.
I wish Christmas joy to each of you. The poinsettia is such a pretty, colorful flower. I think we relate it to Christmas joy.
Joy to the World!