Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Luke 2:10

As one of the most joyous of all Christmas hymns, this carol omits references to shepherds, angelic choruses, wise men, and stars. It emphasizes instead the reverent but ecstatic joy that Christ's birth brought to mankind, and His Second Coming will bring to mankind! For centuries hearts had yearned for God to reveal Himself personally in the form of the long-awaited Messiah. At last it happened as "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us". The entire season celebrating Christ's birth should be filled with heartfelt rejoicing, as we contemplate anew God's great gift, providing the means whereby sinful man might live eternally!

"Joy to the World!" is a paraphrase of the last part of Psalm 98:

4 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
6 With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.
7 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
8 Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together
9 Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.

Of course, this psalm was written with thoughts of the joy the chosen people Israel would have when their Messiah came, sharing ultimately with the whole world the joy of salvation. Originally a psalm of rejoicing for Jehovah's protection of Israel and the anticipation of the time when He would be recognized as the God of the whole Earth, this song was intended by Watts to be an expression of praise for the reign of Christ in His kingdom! It praises God for salvation, when God became incarnate as the Babe of Bethlehem Who was born to die on Calvary, to remove the curse of Adam's fall.

The text was originally titled "The Messiah's Coming and Kingdom" when it first appeared in Watts' hymnal of 1719. The music for this popular carol is from some of the phrases used in parts of George Frederick Handel's beloved oratorio, The Messiah, first performed in 1742.

Through the combined talents of an English literary genius of the 18th Century, a German-born musical giant from the same period, and a 19th Century American choir director and educator, another great hymn was born.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
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 world, 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!

*For Today*: Genesis 3:17 & 18; Psalm 98; Romans 5:20 & 21

Express gratitude for our Saviour's birth and future reign with these timeless words....

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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