I love Christmastime for so many reasons…one of which is that this season affords us so much lovely music. I’ve been thinking these past couple of weeks about Isaac Watts’ great Christmas hymn “Joy to the World.” Verse three, which was slightly altered by W. W. Phelps, and put in our hymnbook (Hymns, #201), is as follows:
No more will sin and sorrow grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He’ll come and make the blessings flow
Far as the curse was found
Now, what might this mean…since our Savior was born over two thousand years ago, and yet, sin and sorrow have continued to grow and thorns have continued to infest the ground? Well, I must assume that the fulness of blessings which Jesus intends to make flow “far as the curse was found” is still in the future.
And so today, I’d like to speak briefly about the curse He intends to overthrow by the flow of those blessings.
First off…remember, after partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were told that the earth would be cursed to afflict and torment them in particular ways. Instead of bringing forth flowers and fruits spontaneously, the earth would bring forth thorns and other obnoxious elements…and all of the human family, which includes us, would experience the results of that curse. As well, since then, man’s physical state has been greatly endangered. Our bodies will eventually decay and die. So, we’re getting hit pretty hard, because of what our first parents did. But wait. I thought we believed that “men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.” (Article of Faith #2) Ah!…Therefore, we must agree that being guilty and punished for something may not be the same thing as coming under the effects of a divine curse. Children may inherit the effects of the curses brought about by their fathers, but are the children guilty of their father’s disobedience? Absolutely not.
And there are all kinds of effects of curses we can come under. For instance, what if many years ago, a man or a woman suffered from depression or other mental illness? This happened not because of anything wrong they had done, but came as one of the effects of the Fall…the unraveling or disintegration of order in the human DNA. Their brain was partially broken. Suppose they then endured the depression, trying to get through each day as it manifested its overpowering gloom upon them. Eventually, it became so oppressive that they began looking for any possible way to numb their pain…until at last they turned to alcohol as a form of escape…and soon found themselves addicted to alcohol.
The curse of alcoholism, which is a further physical plunge than the original Fall, can expand to even worse tendencies and addictions…perhaps a heightened explosive anger, leading to becoming physically abusive to spouse or children. Meanwhile, these genetic tendencies and behaviors may become passed on to the next generation, and then the next…and all because of the eroding effects of the original Fall.
As I said earlier, thorns were a result and sign of the Fall. Well, I find it curious that when Jesus comes to atone for all our sins, and the effects of our cursed tendencies…while He is undergoing the excruciating atonement that would remedy the Fall of man, He is crowned with a crown of thorns. It’s as if the soldiers, unknowingly, coronate Him with a crown of the curse…Though Jesus never transgressed, He came to be numbered with the transgressors (us). And He is not only numbered with them, but is crowned their King…King of fallen man! And He intends to make them His people, if they will let Him. He has power to do this. God, His Father, has given Him this power.
So, our physical bodies may inherit or adopt a multitude of ‘natural man’ instincts and tendencies that don’t even agree with the nature of our spirits…or who we really are. But, Jesus intends to fix all of that. That’s why He came the first time, and why He’ll come again.
The crown of thorns comes off, and the crown of eternal life replaces it!
He’ll come and make the blessings flow
Far as the curse—and all subsequent curses might be found!
Christ will overthrow them all! And this is our great reason for celebration at this time of year!
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Starting tomorrow, for each of the next twelve days, I’m going to share a favorite Christmas story, or poem, or thought. That will bring us up through Christmas Eve.
Happy 12/12/12! :)