Posts Tagged ‘Christmas carol’


Let’s put aside some of the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and other preparations and think about the love of our Savior Who came to give us peace, hope and joy.

        Joy to the World

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!adoration-of-the-shepherds-jacob-jordaens-1593-1678
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

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.

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.

Isaac Watts, who wrote hundreds of hymns, wrote the popular Christmas carol, “Joy to the World”. The lyrics are based Psalm 98:4-9.

 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
With the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.
Let the sea roar and all it contains,
The world and those who dwell in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
Let the mountains sing together for joy
Before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth; ”He will judge the world with
And the peoples with equity.           

In comparing the hymn “Joy to the World” to Psalm 98 you will notice that the Psalm does not mention the shepherds or angels or even Joseph and Mary. The angels on the night of Jesus’ birth may possibly have sung Psalm 98 when they worshipped Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem. The heavenly host was praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14). Because of the overwhelming amount of praise in both the psalm and the carol, we can see the reason that “Joy to the World” is a favorite Christmas carol today.

psalmnodyIsaac Watts had not intended for “Joy to the World” to be a Christmas carol. The famous composer had included it in his book “Psalms of David Imitated” published in 1719. “Imitated” meant that Isaac Watts rewrote the Psalms so that the words rhymed and people could sing them. For hundreds of years many congregations sang only the Psalms. Also many congregations used to sing “A Cappella” (meaning using no instruments). The emphasis was intended to be on the beautiful words of praise to the Lord from the Bible.

This hymn was sung to various tunes for many years. Then in 1839 the melody and lyrics were arranged by Lowell Mason into the song that we sing today. The tune is attributed to George Frederick Handel who wrote the famous Messiah. Parts of the tune to “Joy to the World” do remind us of the great oratorio, Messiah.

Isaac Watts wrote over 600 hymns. He is considered to be the father of Christian hymnody.  His hymns include such favorites as “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed, I Sing the Mighty Power of God, and “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.”  But the most loved of all is “Joy to the World”.

It is not known exactly when this song began to be sung as a Christmas carol. But the words seem to apply to Christmas, when we celebrate the coming of Jesus.

Psalm 98 also reminds us of Christ’s second return. That will be the time when “the Savior reigns” and when “He rules the world with truth and grace.” Jesus will judge the whole earth “with righteousness and all the peoples with equity.”

Though we sing this song at Christmas time, we could sing it any time during the year. We can always praise God who “makes His blessings flow far as the curse is found.” We can praise Him for the “wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

 God bless you all this Christmas.



Read Full Post »