Countries around the world are and will continue to celebrate the season with the lyrics and music these words underscore. Voices of great beauty and somber resolve, will belt out the song! Then…they will go out and hate their neighbors, disparage the person who opposes their political views, and close a business deal that increases their bottom line and “screws” their employees! Somewhere in our efforts to “live righteously,” we missed figuring out how to connect our thoughts and actions with these words:
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness,
for they shall be filled.
The key to bringing “joy to the world,” is to live righteously, speak truth, denounce evil, and seek a God who made everyone in his “image and likeness.” He did not give anyone dominion over another, nor create one more superior to another. We are all equal in the “eyes of the Lord.” It is mortal thinking that makes us believe otherwise. And…that is all it is…a belief…a belief without spiritual substance.
As the writer selected songs to be played on the piano during the Christmas season, Joy to the World was at the top of the list! In fact, in so doing, she could not resist singing along as she plonked out the tune on the piano. Humans live such superficial lives! We talk with the heart of a parrot…no honest desire to “do what we say.” Let’s look at a partial score of the song:
The question becomes, “How many of us really consider the Lord our King?” Do we really prepare our hearts and minds so that he can enter? Is there room for him among the anger, bitterness and hate residing there? Will harmony sing? Will nature lift up its voice? You decide!
As I listened… Mahalia Jackson moved me outside of a human sense of joy and peace. I felt a peace that “passed human understanding,” and touched “the fringes of eternity.” I couldn’t contain myself…when the song reached “He rules the world,” singing and octave higher than Ms. Jackson…I joined in… I was truly uplifted!
As this article explores “joy” from a few perspectives, it seems wise to clarify the type of joy it is advocating. What is joy? There were several meanings that didn’t touch on how the writer feels when joyous, but one did…a definition by a guy called John Piper in an article called “How Do You Define Joy?” He says, “Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.” That definition is what was felt as the rendition by Mahalia Jackson played. Prior to that, the writer heard it song by a choir on Youtube and felt nothing! If the choir felt the impact of the words of the song, they did not convey it to the listener. Let’s listen:
That does not come from technique and skill, it comes from demonstration–demonstration that says, “At some point in my life, I relied on Soul to get me through.” Therefore, the performer draws on that experience during the performance to get the message across.
When you look at America today, what do you feel? What is the first thought? Are you proud? Are you at peace? Do you feel overpowered by love and joy? If not, that means we have work to do!
Joy is not something that can be “called up” to prove a human point or exemplify a human situation. The song say, “Joy comes in the morning.” The morning signifies the sunlight of truth–a truth based on the divine laws of God; a truth practiced day-by-day, hour-by-hour; a truth revealed when spiritual understanding illumines the mind and touches the soul. Let us rejoice that we have the capacity to see that truth, connect with the divine Mind and experience divine Life. It is only then can we say…JOY TO THE WORLD!