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

This hymn is not really a Christmas carol at all. It was written by Isaac Watts, a minister from Southampton, England, in 1712 as a poetical reflection on Psalm 98. Watts was a prolific writer of hymns in his time and when one of his contemporaries, the brilliant composer George Frederick Handel, set the poem to his music ‘Antioch,’ the hymn became a firm favorite of churches all over the world. For his lifetime achievements in hymn writing, Isaac Watts was awarded a Doctorate of Divinity by the University of Edinburgh in 1728.

The hymn describes the joy of Heaven and Earth when Christ returns to judge humankind and restore the whole of creation, so technically it is an Advent carol which can certainly be sung at this time of year. The joy of the world bursts out in song, as both heaven and nature sing the praises of God and Christ. It’s a wonderful uplifting hymn which most choirs and congregations look forward to singing during this special season.

Points to ponder

Where do I see joy in the world? How can I add to this gift of joy?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, as we await Your Second Coming, enable us to embrace the gift of joy that Your Holy Spirit inspires on Earth. Give us hearts that are encouraged by Your love and help us to share Your gladness with everyone we encounter today. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen. 

Today’s image is one of John’s Cades Cove winter drawings called ‘Amid the Winter Snow.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click here.

You can enjoy watching and singing along to an upbeat version of ‘Joy to the World,’ at this video on Youtube: