JOY TO THE WORLD
No Christmas carol list would be complete without the exuberant celebration song, "Joy to the World," This lively tune is easily memorized and simple to play on an instrument. But do you know the interesting story behind this well loved hymn?
Isaac Watts (1674-1748), author of around 750 songs, is commonly called "The Father of Hymns" due to his popularity as the first English hymn writer. Isaac Watts was a young man when hymns other than Psalms were allowed to be sung in the Church of England. This gave way to Watts developing many beloved songs. Watts still based many of his songs on the Psalms, but he was especially interested in writing hymns based on the "Christian experience."
Joy the the World was written in 1719 and based on Psalm 98:
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the Lord with the harp; and the voice of psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together. Before the Lord; for He cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity.
If you notice the lyrics of the song, Joy to the World, you will see nothing about shepherds, a manger, wise men, angels or any other character or element that we normally associate with the Christmas story.The reason being Isaac Watts did not write it to be a Christmas song. The original theme of this song was the second coming of the Lord.
Over 100 years later, in 1839, Lowell Mason adapted and arrange this song into a melody many believe to have been written by Handel. In research, however, it has not been established when or why this hymn became associated with Christmas. Certainly we can look at the message in this song and see that it can be applied to Christ's appearance as a babe in Bethlehem. We must prepare room for Him in our hearts and lives. This is a joyous occasion.
As you hear the beloved carol this season, think about the words. Yes, they apply to the Christmas story in that the Lord has come! We should rejoice! But, let the lyrics all point to the reason Jesus came: to SAVE THE WORLD!! Be ready because HE IS COMING BACK AGAIN! What a glorious day THAT will be when the whole earth celebrates His appearing!! One last question, ARE YOU READY FOR HIS RETURN?, if not it's simple to get ready. Ask Jesus in as your Lord and saviour, ask Him to help you live a holy and pleasing life to and for Him. My last suggestion is that you find a good bible believing church, like Word of Life, and get connected. Make one decision to be in church when the doors are open for one solid year faithfully and see what God will do in your life. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed and Joyful New Year!!!