Joy to the world--the Christmas song, that is--has an odd line in it: and heaven and nature sing. When you read who praises God, often people stop with just people. But all heaven and nature sing. The enfleshment of the eternal Son of God brings about the greatest praise of all time. Not even Tobymac in his prime could out sing the heavenly choirs and the earthly songs. In the Christmas birth story in St. Luke, the angels cut loose for the sake of the baby Jesus and the shepherds who represent Israel: Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” And nature also brings forth praise, as Psalms 96 and 98 tell:
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
Imagine that: the coming of the Lord brings about such joy that all creation sings alleluias to the Baby King who brings justice in suffering for each of us--the Just One for all the unjust--and imagine how the song gets louder as more and more join it. Imagine the choir of heaven filled with the faithful ones who joined them this year. That joy will never end even though they are no longer among us. Guess what: they are still singing and it's much louder now because they are not held back by being slightly off-key or tone deaf. They are spot on and they sing with us as we hymn in the Baby who became one of us to save us. We have in our Holy Communion liturgy a very important line: and with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Your (God's) glorious name and [sing]: Holy, holy, holy.
Sing out this Christmas and remember your loved ones who are safely with the Lord Jesus. They are singing with you because of Jesus. Jesus came for you and in Him you have His forgiveness and righteousness. You have Him because He has you. Sing out for joy!