Joy to the World

And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, “You shall not eat of it,” cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.” (Genesis 3:17, 18, ESV)
I know this is not what you expected. You might ask “So what’s with a title like Joy to the World, followed by a picture of a hand full of grass burrs, followed by a Scripture passage about the fall” The third verse of this great hymn by Isaac Watts is the key to this post:
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his
blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

Let me tell you how far the curse is found on my place. It is found at the foot of a small tree, with a good deal of bark and cambium scraped from its tiny trunk; damag by deer antlers in the middle of the previous night. One big buck had “scraped” a number of our smaller trees, including several small apple trees and the White pine pictured below. The pine had been our Christmas tree three seasons back. When I bent down to get a close shot of the damage, my left hand quickly came up with a hand-full of this curse.
And that is where Joy to the World comes in. That is what Christmas is all about. Christ came to put an end to all of that, and though we live in this age of the already but not yet, we have a sure hope that one day sin and sorrow will grow no more, neither will thorns infest the ground. Also, this creation will not strive with it self, so that rutting bucks won’t mindlessly try to destroy young trees. Sure, these things are nothing compared to personal sin and misery and estrangement from God, but they are connected and related.
So the next time your car breaks down or your co-worker dissapoints you, or you come down with the flu, or a loved one dies; then remember just how far the curse is found, and what great joy it is to this fallen world and all in it, that Christ came to fix all of that. That is what Christmas is all about.
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:19-23, ESV)
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