Blogmas Day 15: “Joy to the World!”

Yesterday, on the third Sunday in Advent, we lit the pink candle for JOY. (Because, of course pink is synonymous with joy).

So, in accordance with this theme, let’s talk about “Joy to the World.” We’re going back to the Glory to God hymnal, #134. (I linked the Whitney Houston version because I like it better).

1 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.

2 Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let all their songs employ,
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

3 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.

4 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.

Unfortunately, I missed posting on Saturday because my wifi was acting up. I’m also pretty burned out, and at this point, I’m only writing to honour a commitment I made to myself. However, instead of playing catch-up in this post, I’m honoring this Sunday’s theme. I’ll probably post days 14 and 16 later today.

“Joy to the World” was originally written by Isaac Watts in 1719. The music was written by none other than George Frederick Handel (I feel like I wrote about him already) in 1742 and Lowell Mason in 1836.

This song has four verses and, to me, it looks like there’s a pattern. Verses 1 and 2 tell us to have joy, and verses 3 and 4 tell us why.

Verse 1: World! Have joy! The Lord has come! Receive your king! Prepare the way of the Lord! Sing for joy!

Verse 2: Earth! Have joy! The Savior reigns! If the rocks can cry out, so can you!

Verse 3: No more sins and sorrows! The Lord has come to bless you and wash away your curse (?)

Verse 4: The Lord rules the world with truth and grace! His righteousness is glorious and his love is wondrous!

(Okay; this one is pretty hard. Let’s see the scripture that inspired it).

Verses 1 and 2 are inspired by Psalm 96:10-13, which describes the kingship of the Lord. All creation rejoices, from the heavens to the earth, and the seas to the fields. The Lord is described as a righteous and true judge. Psalm 98:4-9 echoes a similar theme: rejoicing in song.

And, of course “prepare Him room” refers to the prophecies of the “voice crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord.'”

Verse 3 seems to refer to Genesis 3:17-18, in which God punishes Adam (the first man and the first human being) for disobeying God’s command not to eat from a particular tree (the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil). Adam’s punishment was that he was cursed to do hard labor and till ground that was not arable. Instead of healthy soil, it was a ground filled with thistles and thorns.

Verse 4 contains an allusion to Revelation 11.15: ” ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever’ ” (NRSV). (It also reminds me of Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus, which I will definitely write about in a later post).

What I can glean from this song is that Jesus’s (the Lord’s) coming will be joyful. It will be joyful because He is the fulfillment of the prophecies of a King and Saviour who will finally come to restore the world and rule with righteousness. All of creation will sing and shout for joy. He will wipe away all tears and there will no longer be reason for sadness. He will rule in love.

After a while, a lot of this becomes redundant, but it’s such a great reminder of the hope that we have in Christ. We have so many songs to sing through which we can learn about our faith. I have sung many of the songs I have posted so far without thinking about their content, but now that I’m doing this project, I’ve realized that they hold such deep, important messages.

lighted candles
Photo by Pixabay on


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