Joy to the World. The Lord is Come!
Did you ever think about why this classic hymn uses “Joy is Come!” Rather than Joy has come?” It isn’t just poetry. The old-time hymn writers are actually pointing to something deep within our Christian consciousness. Joy, in the Gospel stories, is about the fulfillment of a forward-looking promise. During the Advent Sundays leading to Christmas, we learn that Angel Gabriel encourages Mary to “Rejoice!” at a baby about to be.
The wombs of Elizabeth and Mary – not yet fully formed – leap with Joy – when they encounter one another and dream of a better future, the long expected Messiah. He is coming!
For all of us who work together at Episcopal Relief & Development carrying Joy to a hurting world, we celebrate Christmas by looking through the experience of Bethlehem, with its census for tax collection, and oppressive regimes, with its journeys on donkeys, dreams of saviors and birthing experiences amongst the mice of a manger.
We honor the experience of that baby by seeing where He may be again entering the world today, just as vulnerable yet sanctified as He has always been: in the displacement camps of Syria or South Sudan, with the garbage pickers in Brazil, in the trailer homes of Arkansas. What a privilege to follow the star through our donations, our flights, our journeys, our churches and our people to the stable, the tent, the cave, the hut! Again and again, the trumpets compel us to leap in delight and thanksgiving at the fulfillment of all hope. Joy!
Images: Top, The Annunciation by Jim Timmons. Middle 1, The Visitation by James B. Janknegt. Middle 2, Entry of Christ into Jerusalem by Wilhelm Morgner. Last, Star of Bethlehem by Zelda Fitzgerald.
An Historical Journey
We invite you to journey with us through our 75 years of healing a hurting world. View our interactive timeline that takes you from our start in the 1940s to the present, and witness our growth in vision and direction. We thank you for your support that allows us to strive towards a flourishing future. It takes #AllHands75!