Today, our Carol of Comfort & Joy is the most published hymn in North America: “Joy to the World!”
English minister and logician Isaac Watts wrote the lyrics in 1719 as a reinterpretation of Psalm 98. This carol’s tune came much later in 1848, written by American composer and banker Lowell Mason. Watts used the praising and wonderstruck verses of Psalm 98 to portray what the Second Coming of Christ would be like. Not only that, but every verse gives us directions to welcome the Lord back with cheer and reverence! “Let every heart prepare Him room” – just like we’re called to do during Christmas!
That being said, his lyrics overlapped so perfectly with the Christmas festivities that “Joy to the World” morphed into a Christmas carol over the next centuries. It speaks of welcoming the joy of Christ, but also of uprooting the darkness of the world with His powerful presence – perfect for prayers and fasting and almsgiving in Advent. It makes me think, “what is holding me back from welcoming Jesus into my heart as fully as I can this year?” And I hope you’ll take some time to think about it, too.
Jesus coming to us as a baby, and the world remembering that evermore in songs like “Joy to the World” – what wonders of the Lord’s love, to be saved and then to sing about it!
Sing along to the Northridge Preparatory School choir singing “Joy to the World” below!