Joy to the World

November 5, 2022 by  
Filed under Faith

By Cheri Cowell –

Descriptives such as “Genius” and “father of English hymnody” have been showered upon Isaac Watts (1674-1748), the author of “Joy to the World!” Only one other English-language hymn writer, Charles Wesley, is seriously compared to Watts. A nonconformist pastor and author of about 60 books and 700 hymns, Watts is most remembered for the extraordinary hymns, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “Our God Our Help in Ages Past,” and the Christmas favorite “Joy to the World!”

First published in Watts’ 1719 work, The Psalms of David, Imitated in the Language of the New Testament, “Joy” was a paraphrase of the second part of Psalm 98. Originally the opening line read, “Joy to the earth,” but eventually the better term “world” entirely supplanted “earth.” Both words and music joyfully proclaim the birth of Jesus. Of all the sacred carols, “Joy” is perhaps the most positive and uplifting declaration of the message of Christmas. The exclamation point almost universally inserted by carol editors after the initial line, “Joy to the world!” powerfully punctuates the exhilarating effect this carol has had for the past century and a half. As you read the Scripture today that his carol is based upon, may your heart sing with Joy!

PRAYER: Lord, I make room today in my heart to receive The King. Help me remove the busyness and the worry I often focus on this time of year, and instead focus on the wonders of His love.

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—shout for joy before the Lord, the King. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; 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” (Psalm 98:4-9 NIV).

About Cheri Cowell

Cheri Cowell is the author of the new Bible study, Parables and Word Pictures of the New Testament: Following God series
  • Advertisement

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Prove You\'re Human: *