Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Imminent Gospel

Most Christians are aware the beloved Christmas carol “Joy to the World” was not written in celebration of the birth of Christ. No shepherds watch their flocks. Nor do angels announce the news of the baby born in Bethlehem. It’s not about the newborn King at all, but rather the triumphant King of Kings who comes with truth and grace to right the earth, end the curse, and reign for all eternity. This is the song we sing at Christmastime to remind us the baby, the sacrificed Lamb of God, the risen Savior is coming again.

The good news to the lowly men in the pasture and the kings in faraway lands told of a child given, a Son born who would carry the government on His shoulders. The fulfillment of ancient prophesy, the promise of salvation was imminent. Yet some seven hundred years had passed before the blessed birth Isaiah wrote about. And a greater stretch of mankind’s time would unfold before the baby ruled the world.

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.   
Isaiah 9:6

Through the coming of the Divine to the lowliest place, the good news reached down to us. And the sacrifice was made. Now we come to the cross and accept the blood that saves our souls, for our death is imminent. So is this Gospel of grace and forgiveness and reconciliation to our Creator imminent. Always for now, for this moment. For this is the time of our redemption.

And the good news of Isaac Watt’s Un-Christmas carol is now most imminent. Some two thousand years after Christ spoke the promise of His second advent, He will indeed soon return to a world of forgetfulness, of rampant disregard for the blood of the Lamb. Of sadness. And terror. And darkness.

And then heaven and nature will sing.

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
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,
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.

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