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Thursday, December 16, 2010

December 16

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

“Joy to the World”     Isaac Watts

When growing up on a farm, I began every morning by looking out my window to a range of mountains in the west.  But it was not until I first hiked in those mountains that I discovered that what I had thought was a range of mountains was really two mountain ranges with a valley between them.

I have sometimes wondered if that is something of what it was like for the Hebrew prophets as they looked out across grand vistas of time.  In their visions of Christ’s first coming and his second coming, they were unable to see the vast valley of time between his two comings.  They were not granted to see the many years between his first coming as the baby in Bethlehem’s manger, and his second coming in power and majesty.  They were unable to grasp the centuries between his two comings.

Is this perhaps why in many of the Christmas carols we are singing of Christ’s two comings in one song?   The beloved old carol, “Joy to the World!” comes to mind.  In this song the English hymnist, Isaac Watts (1674-1748) has telescoped into one joyous song the two comings of Christ.

In the last stanza, Watts revels in the promise of the Christ Child one day ruling the nations of the world:

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.

This is one of the grand mysteries most loved about Advent!  All the while we sing of the little baby in a cattle stall, we see beyond the great expanse of time and rejoice in his coming again as Lord of the nations.  Think of it!  The baby asleep on the hay will one day make even the nations of the world prove the “glories of his righteousness,” and “wonders of his love!”

Eight hundred years before the first coming of Christ, the prophet Isaiah was graced to see the two comings of Christ wrapped into one.  Read Isaiah’s words, inspired of the Spirit, and wonder, and worship:

6For a child has been born for us, a son given to us;  authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.  Isaiah 9:6-7




Read, Reflect, Respond, and Rest with the above scripture text
and today’s devotional

Today’s Moments of Diaphany

  • an answer to prayer
  • evidence of his love and care
  • evidence of his creative power and wisdom
  • his help to do his work

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