Read Isaiah 61:10
“Joy to the world! The Lord has come!” These are the words from the hymn writer Isaac Watts, whose devotion to the Lord and desire to praise God caused him to write over 600 spiritual songs. He took familiar Psalms and made them very singable. This famous Christmas carol is a paraphrase of the last part of Psalm 98: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth, make a loud noise and rejoice and sing praise. Let the floods clap their hands, let the hills be joyful together before the Lord. For He cometh to judge the earth, with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity” (KJV).
The coming of God incarnate as the babe in Bethlehem brought the salvation needed to remove the curse of Adam’s fall. Christ came to redeem and make the assembly of those who follow him, the church, his bride. It is a mystery to us now, only to be understood when Jesus comes again, as described in Revelation 19:7-8:
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready, it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
Jesus came. Jesus saved. Because of Jesus, we’re clothed with the garments of salvation. Our salvation is by God’s own doing, by God’s own son on the cross: “He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Now, we respond in joy! So, wherever you find yourselves this Advent, take joy in the God of your salvation. Rejoice in the great gift God has provided for you, that you may to live forever with him in eternal bliss.
Reflection and Response
Today, Joni Eareckson Tada suffers from a serious neck injury and has lived as a quadriplegic for over half her life. In reflecting on needing someone else to dress her daily, she’s come to praise God for clothing her with something else she could not put on herself: righteousness. She’s thankful to God every day as she remembers who truly dresses her with salvation. As you get dressed up for your holiday festivities, praise God for the beautiful “new clothes” of righteousness he gives you because Jesus came as a baby into this world for your sake.
By Donna Burns