Joy to the World

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10-11).

I have longed loved Joy to the World and have very fond memories of both hearing it and singing it in my youth. The song wonderfully gives the account from Luke 2:10 and 11 – our savior had come! Yet, Joy to the World points us, Christians, to the day that Christ will come again and rule justly over the whole world, in truth and love. Joy to the World celebrates Christ’s reign when the curse of Adam’s sin will be lifted forever. We do joy in the Lord now. We joy in his salvation and in his protection. The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice (Ps 21:1). But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield (Ps 5:11-12).

Yet, that day, the day, when Christ comes again and reigns as King, will be even more joyful. We will sing “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!” Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King (Psalm 48:1-2).

As you celebrate Christmas and the look back on the birth of the Savior, please consider the lyrics of Joy to the World and contemplate His coming again as King of the whole earth! Let the words speak to you.

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.

Joy to the earth, 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.

Issac Watts (author of When I Survey the Wondrous Cross) wrote the lyrics of this great hymn and Christmas carol and was first published in 1719. Sir Watts based the song on Psalm 98. Verses 4 through 9 ring out:

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world.

Lowell Mason wrote the music used for Joy to the World in 1839. Cyberhymnal states that Joy to the World was the most published Christmas hymn in North America as of the late twentieth century.

Sources:, King James Version of the Holy Bible

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