"Joy to the World"

Monday, December 26, 2016

When is a Christmas hymn not a Christmas hymn? When it’s message is equally strong in all seasons. Actually, that is true of every hymn we normally associate with Christmas. Even “Silent Night” can be sung in July as a reminder of Jesus’s love for us. But unlike most Christmas hymns, “Joy to the World” doesn’t even mention Christ’s birth except for the beginning reference to “the Lord is come.” It is truly a hymn for all seasons, and we should sing it throughout the year.

The 1719 lyrics by Isaac Watts are his paraphrase of Psalm 98. Here are verses 4–9 from the King James version, which was probably the one Watts used.

4Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
5Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
6With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King.
7Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
8Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together
9Before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.

And here are the words to “Joy to the World” as found in The Lutheran Service Book published by Concordia Publishing House.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n, and heav’n 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.

Praise God for the wonders of His love in 2017 and always.

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