FAR AS THE CURSE IS FOUND

I love Christmas music. The only reason I don’t listen to it all year is I don’t want to risk it getting old. The last couple of years there has been one line from an old familiar carol that has really stuck in my head.

It’s from “Joy to the World” verse three. If you grew up going to church as a kid in the same era I did, you know that verse three of any hymn was often the verse that was skipped when the congregation sang. I’m not sure why. Apparently singing only two verses of a four-verse hymn was lazy, and singing all four was just far too enthusiastic. And we can’t have that!

Verse three goes like this:

“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.”

It’s that last phrase that sticks with me. We are used to hearing about God’s blessings. We pray a blessing over our food when we eat. We bless one another on special days like birthdays and big life events. We even say “Bless you” when someone sneezes. But curses we don’t talk about too much.

We think of a curse as something terrible, unusual, and hopefully avoidable. But the truth is the greatest curse surrounds us every moment of every day. All the earth and everything and everyone in it have been living under the curse ever since Adam and Eve sinned. It’s the reason we have thorns, sins, tragedies, evil, and heartache.

A theologian could be more precise, but we know from Scripture (Galatians 3) that Jesus came to become the curse for us, die for us, and redeem us from the ultimate death that the curse would enforce. Someday that redemption will be complete and perfect. But for now, we see its effects every day.

The thing I love about verse three is the idea that His coming to earth began the redemption that we all need so desperately. And it’s not a redemption that is just barely sufficient and applies only to getting us to heaven. No, He came, and He still comes today, to make His blessings FLOW in every place that we see the effects of the curse.

Every time there is sin in our lives His blessing of forgiveness is poured out in abundant availability. In every tragedy or natural disaster that makes no sense to us, He is completely present and pours out provision, aid, and comfort, often through His own children. When we are grieving the loss of someone we love, He is with us and understands every cry of our hearts. If we are alone, He is our constant companion. When we are overwhelmed and exhausted by the demands of life, He offers His peace if we will receive it.

He offers Himself, not like a dripping or trickling faucet, but as a flowing river that has no beginning and no end. Like water, He flows always to the lowest place that we find ourselves and dwells right there with us. There is no lack in His flow of blessing, only in our willingness to let Him in. Only we can close the access and prevent His love from meeting our every need.

Let’s not do that. Let’s open our hearts and be honest about our needs. Let’s admit that we need to see His life, His blessing, and His love in every part of our lives and our world. Let’s enjoy a wonderful Christmas and begin a new habit of inviting and seeing His blessings flow to meet all the needs we see as we walk with Him.

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