Thursday, December 18, 2014

Joy To The World

With the advent of the internet, it's absolutely amazing how easy it is to do research on any topic.  I remember as a boy being blessed with some World Book Encyclopedias that my parents had purchased.  As a result, I had easy access to a wealth of information about practically any person, place or thing.

Yet now, finding information is right at my fingertips on any computer, thus allowing me to learn more about general topics in life within mere moments as I make the effort.

For example, with Christmas rapidly approaching, I did some research on perhaps the most popular Christmas carol, "Joy To The World".  This beloved song was penned by Isaac Watts, although the tune is supposed to have originated by George Friedrich Handel. However, I discovered that "Joy To The World" is really not a "Christmas" carol.  Consider how the lyrics do not mention anything associated with the nativity, e.g. the manger, Mary and Joseph, shepherds, wise men, etc. Of course, it does mention "the Lord is come" and "let earth receive her king".  Nevertheless, this song is written more to describe the millennial reign of Christ which will occur after the Great Tribulation.  The Bible describes this future time as a wonderful time of peace and prosperity.  I believe there will be no sin at that time.  This will be a phenomenal, joyful, peaceful time of unprecedented happiness.

Does this mean that "Joy To The World" should be abandoned as a Christmas carol?  Of course not. I think it is certain applicable at Christmastime.  Yet, it has a deeper meaning, a wonderful time of peace on earth with Jesus reigning for one thousand years.  That will be the ultimate Christmas celebration, far beyond the simple annual festivities around December 25th.

Cancer or sickness can also have a deeper meaning, not just a depressive time of debilitating treatments and suffering.  As Joseph said after being reunited with his brothers who had sold him into slavery, " meant it for evil, but God meant it for good..." (Genesis 50:20).  As I continue to discover, there are deeper and glorious meanings in life, even beyond beloved Christmas carols.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Resting In The Outcome

Well, college football season is coming to a close soon with end of the year bowl games, championship games, etc.   I enjoy watching games, especially seeing my favorite team on the field. 

Thankfully, with the advent of cable TV and satellite dishes, there are multiple sports channels that I can view at all times of the day.  Some of these channels show replays of my team, giving me a chance to watch games again, to refresh my memory of key plays and to hear the roar of the crowd.

Basically, I only watch replays of games that my team won.   This is advantageous in one simple way.  For example, if my team fumbles, throws an interception, gives up a big play, or even falls behind at times, I don't have to worry.  I know the final outcome.  Even when victory seems almost impossible, I know which team will ultimately prevail.

Sometimes in life I feel like I'm losing.  My health is not as chipper as I want it to be.  My finances are struggling.  My house is falling apart.  And, of course, there is always the mental and emotional concerns regarding cancer.  Although I've been cancer free for years, there is a perpetual cloud hanging over me.  Will it come back?  Will my next CT scan be okay?

Yet, I am not to worry.  Psalms 139:16 says, " Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them."  In other words, I am not going to die one second before I am supposed to die.  God knows all of my days, every one of them.  Even though life may be rough at times, with God's sovereign will, I'll be around as long as I'm supposed to be.

It's similar to watching a replay of a football game.  Just as I know the outcome or final score, God knows the outcome of my life.  In the meantime, I should just enjoy the game.  Rah! Rah!