What Are You Joyfully Celebrating Part Four

Merry Christmas!

Yesterday, Christmas eve, my husband returned home after attending our church’s 2:00 pm worship service to tend to our pets before heading over to a friend’s house to share an evening meal and play a game of Scrabble.

While my husband was outside walking our dog, he noticed running water coming from the back of a neighbor’s house. Given the temperatures had been at record lows for our area overnight and had barely risen above freezing by this point, my husband immediately intervened.

Thankfully, the neighbor was home, enabling my husband to instruct them on how to turn their water off and encourage them to contact an emergency plumber.

Then, as we were loading our car up to head to our friend’s house, a fire truck arrived. Another one of our neighbor’s homes had sprung a leak as well. Unfortunately, they were not at home. Thus, the firefighters had to turn their water off from the street with some guidance from my husband where the access existed. 

Even though we were running late, my husband took time to reach out to our neighborhood group to report that water was off in these two homes, with the specifics of one being turned off from inside the house and the other from the street. 

What does any of this have to do with joyful celebration and verse four of the carol Joy to the World?

First, read the following verse.

He rules the world with truth and grace
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders, wonders of his love.

From Joy to the World, verse four.

Remember the carol Joy to the World is celebrating the birth of the Christ child, the long-awaited Messiah.

Verse four describes Christ as one who rules the world with truth and grace.

Take a moment to define truth without looking it up in a dictionary.

Now consider the following synonyms for truth from Merriam-webster.com.

  • accuracy 
  • authenticity 
  • facticity 
  • verity 
  • factuality 
  • credibility 
  • reliability 
  • sooth 
  • correctness 
  • trustworthiness 
  • veracity 
  • actuality 
  • accurateness 
  • honesty 
  • dependability 
  • trustiness 
  • trustability 

Did you use any of these synonyms to define truth? Why or why not?

Again, without using a dictionary, take a moment to define grace.

Did you use any of the following synonyms in your definition of grace I found from Merriam-webster.com? Why or why not?

  • kindness 
  • mercy 
  • benevolence 
  • privilege 
  • service 
  • blessing 
  • indulgence 
  • courtesy 
  • dispensation 
  • boon 
  • favor 
  • benefit 
  • turn 
  • advantage 
  • waiver 
  • liberty 
  • manna 
  • godsend 
  • license 

Read the following scripture of a promise from the Lord to Ezekiel long before the Christ child was birthed.

And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. (Eze 36:23 ESV)

Also, consider this scripture penned before the Christ child was birthed.

Before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness. (Psa 96:13 ESV)

Lastly, consider a description of Christ written by an eyewitness after Christ had completed His work of redemption.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (Joh 1:14-17 ESV)

How do the above synonyms and scriptures enhance your understanding of the fourth verse of Joy to the World?

Now consider the following discourse between Christ and a scribe of His day.

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.
33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

(Mar 12:28-34 ESV)

Yesterday, I witnessed my husband put this passage from Mark into action when he took the time to ensure that our neighbor who was home knew about their broken water pipe and the next steps to take to get it repaired.

I witnessed it a second time when my husband didn’t hesitate to assist the firefighters when they showed up because of a report of yet another burst pipe for a neighbor who was not home.

Did my husband’s actions make us late for our plans with our friend? Of course, but I was not upset because I knew my husband was practicing the love your neighbor as yourself command that God also showed through the offering of the Christ child we sing about in the carol Joy to the World.

In truth and grace, my husband modeled as an ambassador of the Lord, loving our neighbors by taking action to ensure no further damage occurred to their homes because of the burst pipes. 

Have you witnessed any examples of someone living out the “love your neighbor as yourself” command in the past week? What impact did it have on the recipient? On You?

Are you living out the “love your neighbor as yourself” command whenever an opportunity arises? Why or why not?

How can living out this commandment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves increase our capacity to joyfully celebrate today and in the year to come?

Share your ideas in the comments below.

Blessings and again, Merry Christmas,

Barbara Lynn


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