Joy to the World

December 21, 1999

During this Christmas week, I thought it would be refreshing to take a break from the political and social commentaries that I do and focus on the music of Christmas. Today I would like to look the hymn "Joy to the World" written by Isaac Watts in 1719 which is essentially a paraphrase of the 98th Psalm.

The hymn begins, "Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing." It always amazes me how popular this hymn is even though it is hardly politically correct in this culture. The reason for our joy is not just for a babe in a manger, but for His rightful place as King in our hearts.

The next verse says, "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." This alludes to the fall in Genesis 3 where God cursed the ground so that it produces weeds and thorns. We must also work by the sweat of our brow until the day when Christ's return will remove the curse.

In that day, the next verses describe His kingdom. It says: "He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove, The glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love." Jesus came not just to be born in a manger, not just to be a religious leader, and not even just to be hung on a cross. He came that we might be free from sin and the curse over all creation. He rose from the dead, reigns over all creation, and will return again triumphant as King. That is why Isaac Watts wrote, "Joy to the world! The Lord is come." Let us rejoice in that fact this Christmas season.