“I’m Happy Today”

"Ye rejoice with joy unspeakable…receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet. 1.8, 9)

     INTRO.: A song which tells why we can rejoice with joy unspeakable is "I’m Happy Today" (#251 in Hymns for Worship Revised). Both the text and the tune are anonymous. The song is not in any of the denominational hymnals that I possess, even the more recent ones that are designed for "blended worship" (i.e., those which combine traditional hymns and gospel songs with the newer "praise songs"), so I have not been able to trace its background. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the earliest one in which I have found it is the 1977 Special Sacred Selections edited by Ellis J. Crum, where it is listed as "traditional" and there are four stanzas (happy, singing, praying, and the combination of the three ending with "sharing my faith"), with the music arranged and copyrighted by Crum. Next, it appears in the 1986 Songs of Praise edited by Alton Howard with words only in six stanzas (happy, singing, praying, loving, combination, and sharing my faith). The only other book in which I have seen this song, besides Hymns for Worship is in the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand where it is called an "American Folk Hymn." There are four stanzas (happy, singing, praying, and combination ending in sharing). The tune was arranged in 1990 by Michael R. Greene and copyrighted in 1992 by Song Supplements, Inc., the original publishers of Praise for the Lord. An Internet search on the song found it on three websites all maintained by churches of Christ, plus another one with guitar chords, and what looked like the most promising turned out to be my own where I had posted some of this material!

     The arrangement in Hymns for Worship was made by Dane K. Shepard, born in 1951, who is one of the editors. A native of California who currently lives in Anaheim, he has taught music in the public schools, sung with the "Favorite Hymns Quartet," labored at the Oklahoma Singing School, and composed and arranged many hymns. Shepard’s arrangement was copyright in 1986 and first published in 1987 in Hymns for Worship, of which he is co-editor. You may notice, as is true with many of the newer "praise songs," the first four stanzas are identical with the exception a different word in each stanza, and even each different word is repeated four times in each stanza, and the last stanza is merely a repetition of the previous four. While it is true that some repetition is good to help aid the memory, those who have read other hymn studies that I have done know that I am not a fan of too much repetition. This is because of Jesus’ warning in Matt. 6.7. If "vain repetitions" are to be avoided in prayer, it would seem that they should be avoided in singing as well.  Certainly, not all repetition is "vain repetition," but the more repetition we do, the more we need to be careful that it does not become vain. Therefore, I have made an arrangement of the words that I hope will help to avoid any likelihood of vain repetition. If you are interested, try it with the tune and see what you think.

     The song certainly does express great joy and happiness in the Lord.

I. Stanza one says that we should be happy
"I’m happy today, oh yes, I’m happy today, In Jesus Christ I’m happy today,
Because He’s taken all my sins away, And that’s why I’m happy today."
 A. When we do what Jesus tells us to do, we can be happy: Jn. 13.17
 B. This happiness, like all other spiritual blessings, is found in Christ: Eph. 1.3
 C. The reason for this happiness for those in Christ is that He has taken our sins away: Acts 2.38

II. Stanza two says that we should be singing
"I’m singing today, oh yes, I’m singing today, With heart and voice I’m singing today,
Because He’s turned my skies to blue from gray, And that’s why I’m singing today."
 A. Because we are happy, we should sing praise to Christ: Jas. 5.14
 B. This singing involves both the voice with which we speak the words and the heart with which we meditate upon the meaning of the words: Ps. 19.14, Eph. 5.19, Col. 3.16
 C. One reason for our singing is that Christ has turned our skies to blue from gray, representing the idea of turning sorrow and mourning into joy: Jn. 16.20

III. Stanza three says that we should be praying
"I’m praying today, oh yes, I’m praying today, On bended knee I’m praying today,
Because He says on Him my cares to lay, And that’s why I’m praying today."
 A. We are told that God’s antidote to being anxious about anything is in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, to let our requests be made known to God: Phil. 4.6
 B. "On bended knee" doesn’t necessarily stipulate a God-ordained physical position for prayer, but rather represents the abject humility that we must have when we come before the throne of God in prayer: Eph. 3.14
 C. The reason why we have the privilege of prayer is that the Lord tells His children to cast all their cares on Him: 1 Pet. 5.7

IV. Stanza four says that we should be living
"I’m living today, oh yes, I’m living today, Through Him who died I’m living today,
Because He lifted me from miry clay, And that’s why I’m living today."
 A. Christians have life and have it more abundantly because those who are dead in sin can be made alive: Jn. 10.10, Eph. 2.1
 B. The means by which this life is made available to us is the death of Christ: 2 Cor. 5.14-15, Gal. 2.20
 C. The reason why we can enjoy this life is that by His death He will lift us up from the miry clay of sin and death: Ps. 40.2

V. Stanza five says that we should be joyful
"I’m joyful today, oh yes, I’m joyful today, I’ve hope and so I’m joyful today,
Because in heaven He wants me to stay, and that’s why I’m joyful today."
 A. We can be joyful today because we are told to rejoice in the Lord: Phil. 4.4
 B. One of the things that makes us joyful is the hope that we have hope in Christ: Col. 1.27
 C. And this hope is of an eternal inheritance with Christ in heaven: 1 Pet. 1.3-5

     CONCL.: On the one hand, we should not look at the world through the proverbial "rose-colored glasses" and think that everything is always just peachy-keen, because there are a lot of suffering and sorrow in this life. On the other hand, even in the midst of all the suffering and sorrow that we see around us and even experience, we can find in Christ an inner peace that will sustain us and bring an inexpressible joy through all our trials and tribulations. Therefore, no matter what happens to me as I journey here upon this earth, because of all the spiritual blessings that I have in Christ, I can truly say that "I’m Happy Today."


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