The Songs of Christmas: Joy to the World (Psalm 98, Genesis 3)

Sermon Series song music christmas 1110 x 624

Do You Hear What I Hear? The Songs of Christmas
November 26: Joy to the World by Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
Scripture References: Psalm 98, Genesis 3
These are the notes from a message offered Sunday, 11/25/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Our first song is in this new message series is Joy to the World. Is it one of your favorite Christmas songs? Surprise! It isn’t a Christmas song. It’s an Advent song. Advent means “coming” and it refers to the coming of God in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ coming is understood in 3 ways

  • the first coming of Jesus as the babe in Bethlehem (Incarnation)
  • the second coming of Jesus as Lord, Judge, and King at the end of time
  • the coming of Christ into our hearts and world in the here and now

Joy to the World came into being through 3 men on 2 different continents in 2 different centuries.

  • Isaac Watts based the text on Psalm 98:4-9
    • He was frail, sickly, quiet, only 5-feet tall. (17 July 1674 – 25 November 1748, United Kingdom)
    • In his teen years, he complained to his father, a dissenting pastor, that the songs sung in church were awful and difficult to sing. His father said, “Well, you write some that are better.” And so he did. He wrote a hymn a week for the next two years and went on to write hundreds of texts.
    • It could be said Watts was writing the contemporary music lyrics of his day (Chris Tomlin of his day)
  • 100 years later in America, Lowell Mason set Watt’s text to musical fragments composed in the United Kingdom by George Frederick Handel, from his famous work The Messiah

Joy to the World by Isaac Watts
1 Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing.

2 Joy to the world, the Savior reigns! Let all their songs employ; while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy.

3 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.

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

Psalm 98:1-9
1 O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.

2 The Lord has made known his victory. He has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.

6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it.

8 Let the floods clap their hands; Let the hills sing together for joy 9 at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

What stands out to you from the song lyrics and/or Psalm 98?

  • Joy. Joy is very different than happiness which is based on a favorable situation. Joy is beyond situation. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit.
  • Love. God’s love is faithful, unending, and sacrificial.
  • Jesus is our Savior King

Themes from Joy to the World and Psalm 98

Invitation for all people on earth and all of creation itself to join in worship and song to the Lord

  • Make a joyful noise (Psalm 98:4)
  • Let the sea roar and all that fills it, the world and those who live in it. Let the floods clap their hands. Let the hills sing together for joy. (Psalm 98:7-8)
    • What would it be like to imagine creation praising God when you hear the ocean, or the wind in the trees, or a dog bark, or someone laughing?
  • Let heaven and nature sing (verse 1)
  • Let all their songs employ; while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy (Verse 2)
    • Humans and Creation call back and forth to one another in praising God. The heavens and the earth call back and forth to one another in praise as well.

Why do we worship and sing? We’re celebrating the Lord doing “marvelous things” (Psalm 98:1)

  • The Lord is victorious (Psalm 98:1-3)
    • Victory over sin and death, shame and guilt, isolation and suffering, evil, injustice, oppression
  • Steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel (covenants and promises) and to all the people of the earth (Psalm 98:3)
  • The Advent/Coming of Jesus the Christ- first and second (Psalm 98:9)
  • Jesus Christ judges the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity (Psalm 98:9)

Celebrating and Trusting who Jesus is

  • King of Kings, King of All, King of Creation (Psalm 98:6)
    • Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; (Verse 1)
      • This is a present and future reality
    • Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing (Verse 1)
      • Jesus is King of all creation and desires to sit on the throne of my heart. Jesus is immense and intimate.
    • He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness, and wonders of his love, (Verse 4)
      • the glory of right relationship and true love in Jesus Christ are seen in and across national boundaries
  • Savior King (Psalm 98:1-3)
    • Joy to the world, the Savior reigns! (Verse 2)
      • Though Jesus is King of Creation, he knows us intimately and offers all for our salvation
    • 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, (Verse 3)
      • Jesus our Savior King reverses the curse of Original Sin found in Genesis 3. Jesus’ grace is greater than our sin and all sin.
      • In Genesis 3 we see every relationship corrupted by sin- God and humanity, humans with one another, humans with animals, humans with the earth.
      • Jesus in his life, death, and resurrection offers us victory over sin and death, over the disorder, destruction, and disintegration of The Fall

Will you place your trust in Jesus our Savior King? He is knocking on the door of your heart. Yes, you. Just as you are. It is grace. It is a gift. He will not force his way in. Open the door and receive your King. Welcome him to the throne of your heart.

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CLICK HERE for a pdf of the Christmas Song Devotional Readings.

The Christmas Story is full of singing. Mary sings. Zechariah sings. Simeon sings. The angels sing. Over the centuries we’ve continued to celebrate with songs of our own, songs born from the joy of Christ’s coming.

This holy season, to prepare our hearts again for the coming of Christ, we’ll reflect on the poetry of these meaningful songs. Some will be old friends. Others will be new. My prayer is that their beauty and power draw us closer to Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem, the Risen King. And that the grace of drawing near fulfills in us Christ’s power of new life.

Suggestions for Reflection on Each Song Lyric in the Christmas Devotion:

  • Find a quiet place to sit. Take a couple of deep breaths.
  • Read the song lyrics several times slowly, savoring the words.
  • Ask yourself:
    • What is the big idea?
    • Why is it important?
    • How does this truth connect with my life?
  • Have a conversation with God about this truth.
  • Invite God to use this truth to birth something new in you this holy season.

Additional Ideas:

  • Journal your reflections
  • Draw, paint, or create some other kind of art based on your reflections
  • Find a scripture or two which inspired the song or where brought to mind by the lyrics
  • Sing or listen to the song
  • Share the song or just the lyrics on social media or face to face

I look forward to hearing your comments. – Lisa <><

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Joy to the World reflections © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Your Eternal Goodness, a prayer of thanksgiving and praise based on Psalm 65

give-thanks

Based on Psalm 65

Praise is due you, Great and Generous God
For you provide abundantly

You answer prayer, desiring an ever growing relationship with us.
Who are we that you mindful to our experiences and needs?

You forgive our sins and draw us near, close to your heart and holiness.

You deliver us from slavery to sin and death and self.
You make a way for us in the wilderness of this life,
a way that leads us home to you.
You are with us and we are with you, now and forever.
Hallelujah!

You are the light and the hope of us all.

You are mighty. You are strong.
You are awesome. You are glorious.
You are worthy of every and all praise.

You provide from the richness of your love- far beyond water and food.
Your saving bounty for all- such wonder, such blessing!
Hallelujah!

We join creation in song and celebration of your eternal goodness
Hallelujah!

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Your Eternal Goodness © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Reader’s Theater: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11)

Palm Branches by Kate Branch via Wikimedia Commons

Palm Branches by Kate Branch via Wikimedia Commons

Christians celebrate Palm Sunday the Sunday before Easter, remembering Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This event is mentioned in all four Gospels. (Mark 11:1–11, Matthew 21:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, and John 12:12–19). The following Reader’s Theatre script is based on Matthew’s version of the story from the New International Version of the Bible.

Click Here for a Reader’s Theatre script of the same story which does not included singing and extends the story a few verses (Matthew 21:1-17).

Reader’s Theatre: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Based on Matthew 21:1-11 NIV
Parts: Narrator, Jesus, Prophet, All (congregation as the crowd)

NARRATOR
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives,
Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them

JESUS
Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.

NARRATOR
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

PROPHET
Say to the Daughter of Zion, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

NARRATOR
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.
They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.

Introduction to the song begins
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds went ahead of him and those that followed shouted

ALL SHOUTING:
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!

Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!

ALL SINGING:
Use one of the suggested songs or one of similar theme. A choir anthem, solo, or song led by a praise band could also be used at this point.

Hosanna, Loud Hosanna, United Methodist Hymnal #278
Mantos y Palmas, United Methodist Hymnal #279
All Glory, Laud and Honor, United Methodist Hymnal #280
Hosanna (Praise is Rising), CCLI #4662491
Hosanna, CCLI #21545
Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher), CCLI 5780152

Speak the final lines during an interlude before the final verse or chorus of the song

NARRATOR
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

ALL:
This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.

***************
Adapted from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Reader’s Theater: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11) © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia. You are welcome to use this work in a worship or other devotional setting with proper attribution. Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Reader's Theatre: Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11)

Palm Branches by Kate Branch via Wikimedia Commons

Palm Branches by Kate Branch via Wikimedia Commons

Christians celebrate Palm Sunday the Sunday before Easter, remembering Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This event is mentioned in all four Gospels. (Mark 11:1–11, Matthew 21:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, and John 12:12–19). The following Reader’s Theatre script is based on Matthew’s version of the story from the New International Version of the Bible.

Click Here for a Reader’s Theatre script of the same story which does not included singing and extends the story a few verses (Matthew 21:1-17).

Reader’s Theatre: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Based on Matthew 21:1-11 NIV
Parts: Narrator, Jesus, Prophet, All (congregation as the crowd)

NARRATOR
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives,
Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them

JESUS
Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.

NARRATOR
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

PROPHET
Say to the Daughter of Zion, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

NARRATOR
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.
They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.

Introduction to the song begins
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds went ahead of him and those that followed shouted

ALL SHOUTING:
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!

Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!

ALL SINGING:
Use one of the suggested songs or one of similar theme. A choir anthem, solo, or song led by a praise band could also be used at this point.

Hosanna, Loud Hosanna, United Methodist Hymnal #278
Mantos y Palmas, United Methodist Hymnal #279
All Glory, Laud and Honor, United Methodist Hymnal #280
Hosanna (Praise is Rising), CCLI #4662491
Hosanna, CCLI #21545
Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher), CCLI 5780152

Speak the final lines during an interlude before the final verse or chorus of the song

NARRATOR
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

ALL:
This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.

***************
Adapted from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Reader’s Theater: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11) © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia. You are welcome to use this work in a worship or other devotional setting with proper attribution. Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

#LukeActs2014: Rejoice Wisely (Luke 10:1-24)

rejoice-romans 5 2Based on Luke 10:1-24, Jesus sending the seventy two,
especially Luke 10:19-20 NIV

Jesus said, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus
You entrust us with your greatness
Lips to proclaim your peace
Your Kingdom drawing all, drawing near
Hands to heal
Freedom of simplicity
Authority over evil
Power over the enemy

It’s so easy to lose you among the wonders and signs
In thinking your attention, your affection
Only offered for results (Look Jesus!)
In celebrating ourselves instead of you (Look what we did!)

It’s so easy to lose you in the crush of refusal
In the lack of fruit though the sewing was faithful
In the grumbling, the apathy
The sand sticks to our sandals
and our souls

It’s so easy to lose you
Our worthiness tied to the work

Remind us again and again, Son of Righteousness
Rejoice only in The Relationship
Your name written on the Family Tree
On the palm of God’s hand

Teach us, Jesus
A hallelujah in every season
For we are yours

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Rejoice Wisely © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship or group setting with proper attribution.

Reading for the week of March 9: Luke 10
Click Here for more information on the #LukeActs2014 Reading Plan

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Advent Photo-A-Day: Day 15, Rejoice

Peanuts Dance. Photo by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Peanuts Dance. Photo by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

The thought behind the photo:
This year, our congregation’s Christmas play was A Charlie Brown Christmas. The production was wonderful, especially their version of the classic Peanuts dance of joy.

SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 31:12-13 NIV
They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD– the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 30:11-12 NRSV
You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

The December 15, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com 
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 35:1-3, CEB
The desert and the dry land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the crocus. They will burst into bloom, and rejoice with joy and singing. They will receive the glory of Lebanon, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the Lord’s glory, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and support the unsteady knees.

All of creation rejoices together in the work of reconciliation, that even the desert and dry land are glad. What a beautiful reminder that God’s grace extends to all of the created order.

In the midst of desolation, God creates a way in the desert for new life to spring up.

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Thank you Rethink Church for a great way to make preparing for Christmas more meaningful. Join me and thousands more in setting aside time to reflect, focus, and literally picture the deep themes of Jesus’ birth.

Click here for more information on Advent Photo-A-Day from Rethink Church.

Click here for a master list of links to my submissions. Lisa <><

A Great Thanksgiving Celebrating the Joy of Christmas

A Great Thanksgiving Celebrating the Joy of Christmas
A Great Thanksgiving is also known as a Eucharistic Prayer or Prayer for Holy Communion. It is used to consecrate the bread and the wine/grape juice. This Great Thanksgiving incorporates texts from well-known hymns and Christmas carols as congregational responses. The responses may be sung or spoken.  

ONE:
Holy One, Eternal and Blessed

ALL:
We lift up our hearts to You.

ONE:
Your joy overflows, calling the wonder of creation into being
Filling the world with beauty and goodness

ALL:
Receive our thanks and praise

ONE:
We join the company of heaven
and Your faithful across the nations
in celebrating Your glory and good news

ALL: singing or speaking
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new born King,
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies;
With th’ angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new born King!”

ONE:
When the fullness of time had come
You sent your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ
That all people might experience your perfect love
And share in your unending joy

ALL: singing or speaking
Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,  joy of every longing heart.

ONE:
The demands and burdens of the day left no place for Your birth.
The poor and the animals made room.
The proud sought Your power and Your death.
Wise Ones sought Your presence, brought You gifts.
The world despised and rejected You.
You responded with grace, forgiveness and new life.

ALL: singing or speaking
Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven, to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling; all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation; enter every trembling heart.

ONE:
On the night in which he gave himself up for us,
Jesus took bread, gave thanks to You, broke the bread,
gave it to those gathered around the table, and said:
“Take, eat; this is my body which is given for You.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

When the supper was over, he took the cup,
gave thanks to You, gave it to those gathered and said:
“Drink from this, all of You;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
poured out for You and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as You drink it, in remembrance of me.”

ALL:
We remember You, and welcome You,
and proclaim Your power:
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again!

ONE:
Come Holy Spirit,
Abide with us and in us
And on these gifts of bread and wine
Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ
that we may be filled with Your light, Your life and Your joy
and be useful to You in Your saving work.

ALL: singing or speaking
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

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A Great Thanksgiving Celebrating the Joy of Christmas © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia. You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the art and the use of this post in other settings,
please refer to the copyright information page.