Dec 25, 2020
Did you know that “Joy to the World” was not written as a Christmas carol? In its original form, it had nothing to do with Christmas. It wasn’t even written to be a song.
Isaac Watts was one of the great hymn writers in church history, and nothing shows that better than the fact that he wrote one of his most famous hymns entirely by accident. In 1719, Watts published a book of poems in which each poem was based on a psalm.
One of those poems was an adaptation of Psalm 98, which Watts interpreted as a celebration of Jesus’ role as King of both His church and the whole world. More than a century later, the second half of this poem was slightly adapted and set to music to give us what has become one of the most famous of all Christmas carols:
Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
Instead of celebrating the birth of Christ, like most hymns, this carol is all about the triumphant return of Christ. Ponder that as you sing along at home, in the car, or the pew at church.
Christmas is so much more than Jesus’ birthday — it’s the recognition by believers that Jesus was born, died on the cross for our sins, rose again...and He will return someday to take us home to Heaven!
Dear Lord Jesus, today we celebrate your birthday! We picture you with your earthly mother and father, Mary and Joseph, and celebrate your birth. Thank you for renewing our joy and reminding us you are truly our King of Kings for all time, and you will return to take us home with you. Amen.