Today, the Sunday for before Christmas, this song will be sung in many churches. It is an extremely popular “Christmas Song”, but if you look at the lyrics, they seem to more closely depict the second coming of Christ rather than the first.
Joy to the world, the Lord has 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
The lyrics, written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), were mostly based on Psalm 98.
Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.
Isaac Watts wrote over 800 hymns as well as many other works. Many of his hymns are still found in hymnals today, including of course, Joy to the World. You can read more about him here.
The tune used for Joy to the World here in the United States is called Antioch and while it was arranged by Lowell Mason (1792-1882), it includes at least some parts of George Frideric Handel’s (1685-1769) Messiah. You can read more about that here.
My YouTube search for videos of this song told me that just about everyone seems to have recorded it at one time or another. However, I wanted to find a choral version. This is a nice one by John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers. It was uploaded by Kate Price in 2009.
See you in church!