The first line of a beloved Christmas carol, “Joy to the World,” declares “the Lord is come.” What an interesting word choice the hymnist makes:  “is come.” The hymnist could have declared, “Joy to the World, the Lord has come.” The birth of God’s Son was announced by angels and confirmed by the shepherds and Wise Men who worshiped Him. He grew in stature and wisdom, walked among His people, ministered to the poor and weak, suffered at the hands of unholy men, died the death of a lowly criminal, was buried in a borrowed tomb, rose from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven….all according to the Father’s plan.  These are past events, recorded for us in the Holy Scriptures.  Yes, joy to the world, the Lord has come!

The hymnist could also have proclaimed, “Joy to the World, the Lord will come.” As His loved children, we have the blessing that this Messiah, God’s beloved Son, will come to earth again.  He who now reigns in glory with His Father will return at God’s appointed time to take us and all believers to live with Him eternally.  We do not know when that glorious reality will be ours; it’s a future promise.  Yes, Joy to the World, the Lord will come!

However, in the meantime, we raise our voices and sing, “Joy to the World, the Lord is come.”  While celebrating that He did indeed come and claiming the promise that He will come again, we live in the present joy that He “is come.”   Today and every day He comes with His grace and blessing. In our joys and sorrows, our triumphs and failures, He comes to give us peace beyond all human understanding.  He is indeed our present King!  Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

By Bonnie Matzat