It’s the Third Day of Christmas and most of us have already forgotten Christmas. All of the anticipation and build up to The Magical Day and when it passes we sigh another sigh of relief that we survived. Not only did we survive, many of us are already thrust back into the daily grind of work and laundry, with the little twist of kids home from school. There’s no gradual wind down to Christmas, it’s an abrupt end. You know because you don’t hear carols any longer in stores when exchanging gifts and taking advantage of after-Christmas sales.
Hence, this Third Day of Christmas, we’re going to sing Joy to the World! I’m thinking about the carol Joy to the World, but Hoyt Axton’s version – “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” – made famous by Three Dog Night will do if you don’t know the hymn. They both make reference to the essence of Psalm 98, our Christmastide Scripture today.
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.
The Lord has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
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.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.
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
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. ~ Psalm 98
Isaac Watts, who wrote Joy to the World, was the first hymn-writer who, instead of quoting Scripture directly, wrote lyrics like he would poetry. He was the first to bring original songs written from the Christian experience into worship, a practice that is essential to worship three hundred years later.
Here’s you chance to belt out Joy to the World, whichever version you choose, this Third Day of Christmas.
May I continue the joy and wonder and noise of Christmas long after the season ends. Amen.