Grandpa, what’s joy? Is it like happiness?
Good morning, Elijah! What brought that up?
Mom keeps singing “Joy to the world”! What’s joy? What’s the world?
Joy is deep gladness, Elijah. Happiness is like joy, but joy is deeper. It has to do with who you and and an inexplainable assurance about you, your Mom, and the world. It’s a deep inner gladness. You show it to me every day. Don’t let the world take away your gladness, Elijah!
Okay, Grandpa! But what’s with that third stanza, that thing about the curse?
Oh, that! “No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make his blessings flow Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as, the curse is found.”
Yeah, that. What’s the curse, Grandpa? We’re not supposed to curse, right?
Right. But this is a different kind of curse. It’s the curse of selfishness and greed that bring sorrow to the world.
Isaac Watts — he’s the one who wrote the words to “Joy to the World” for Christmas — knew all about selfishness and greed when he wrote “Joy to the World” way back in 1719. Isaac was English. He knew all about colonialism and the nations.
Yeah, my baby-sitter really loves that last stanza about the nations! She says American exceptionalism is a curse. She really likes that fourth stanza. “He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders, of His love.”
- Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, December 20, 2017.