Far as the Curse is Found

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“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…”

This verse rarely seems to make the cut in modern versions of “Joy to the World.” Maybe it’s because hymns are often lengthy and difficult to get the head and voice around, or maybe thoughts of sorrow, thorns, and curses don’t exactly drum up holiday cheer. But a lot of truth is in that forgotten third verse; it captures the soul of Advent, the waiting, the intense anticipation for reversal.

Far as the curse is found. Maybe farther. Hope, renewal, joy, flooding across the nearly-dead earth to drown the weeds.

The first great curse is that we toil, surviving by sweat and tears and waging battle against thorns and drought and disease. Of course the beauty is there, but our joys and sustenance are tempered by futility, the sense that we can never do enough, or be enough, or win.

But take heart, because the memory of Paradise sustains us, and the hope for renewal leads the way from winter’s bitter sting to spring’s gentle rain. The reversal has begun, and with heaven and nature we can sing.

Joy to the weary, broken, beautiful world.

Profile photo of Jen Rose Yokel

Jen was born and raised in central Florida, but now lives in the strange land of southern New England. Her words have appeared in TS Poetry’s Every Day Poems, CCM Magazine, and other publications, and she recently released her first poetry collection Ruins & Kingdoms. Some of her favorite things include used bookstores, good coffee, messing about in the kitchen, and local adventures with her husband Chris.


10 Comments

  1. Goodgame

    If you ask Pete Peterson, it is not a Christmas hymn at all. I’m glad we’ve made it one, though. Thanks for the reminder of this verse, Jen.

  2. Jennifer Hildebrand

    That’s my favorite of the verses, also. The joy just seems so much more magnificent when contrasted with what we would be without Him. Thank you for these words.

  3. Walt Lindberg

    Thanks for highlighting this verse — I am always bummed when it gets left out of recordings and Christmas services.

  4. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    I have been thinking on this idea a lot lately – that in the New Covenant, we are no longer under the curse. In Christ we enjoy God’s continual favor.

    We are so apt to see negative situations in our lives and feel God is angry or punishing us. But if Jesus Christ said, “It is finished,”is it finished? The Old Covenant, which was rooted in behavior (“He that stumbleth on one point of the Law is guilty of all of it”), has been superseded by the covenant of Grace. This means every moment we are breathing, and for eternity after we take our last breath, we are in God’s love and favor. The only thing left to do is to walk according to it, to treat that love and favor as if were the only reality – because it is the only reality.

    The Old Covenant was signed in the blood of animals – a shadow.

    The New Covenant was ratified in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ – the substance.

    The Old Covenant is based in performance. Perform perfectly and be blessed. Perform badly and be cursed. This, incidentally, is how most of the world operates.

    The New Covenant is based on Christ’s perfection, sacrifice, and his Holy Spirit given to us to be our Source – Christ in us, the hope of glory. For I no longer live, but Christ lives in me, said Paul. Life-change now comes through faith in Christ’s indwelling presence, not by our own human striving to be good.

    This theme has been coming up again and again in my life lately, through books, through teachers, through conversations. Thanks, Jen, for the reminder to rest in the favor of God today.

  5. Ryan David Hawk

    As a naked tree glistens under the snow and ice in winter a beauty unfolds. The snow covers the fields and blankets the death and cold but only for a moment.

    Hope comes in light. In warmth. Just like that, life. Joy to the World. He has come. Joy is incarnate and eternal. The sting and cold of death is gone. Hope beyond the curse, past the shadowlands, and into the every day.

    Thanks for the reminder in this wonderful post Jen. Very timely indeed.

  6. Profile photo of

    Jen Rose

    @

    I’m a little bit late responding to these, but… thank you everyone! Laura, we sang all the verses in church last week as well. 🙂

    Ron, I always learn so much from your comments. Thank you. As a teacher of mine used to say, we live in the “already and not yet.” Sometimes I need reminding that “it is finished.”

    Randy G, I confess, Pete’s post on Jeffrey Overstreet’s blog that talked about this song was what inspired me to share this little piece here. 🙂 I like it as a Christmas hymn and an anytime hymn.

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