Christmas songs #20: Joy to the world!

So here is my favorite Christmas song of all time. I had to save it till last for that reason, but also because its message is so complete. It’s not even really a Christmas song by the lyrics, but for some reason it got stuck to Christmas and that is just fine with me.

It’s really a hymn about the universal importance of the Savior coming into the world. It was written by Isaac Watts, the first great English hymn writer, and it shows advanced meditation on the text of the Bible. The original inspiration for it was Psalm 98, verses 4-9, but it is certainly based on New Testament as well as Old Testament teaching.

In verse 1, Watts encourages us to make room for him in our hearts, not like the inn in Bethlehem which had no room. But the verse is also an echo of John 1.10-11: “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.”

In verse 3, which is the best one of all, Jesus is presented as the one who reverses the curse brought on in the garden of Eden. We saw this theme in “Hark the herald angels sing.” In Genesis it says that God placed a curse on the earth and told Adam it would bear thorns and thistles to him, not just food. But Jesus is the second Adam who passes the test and earns the right, not just to be recognized as obedient, but also to redeem his people. The curse is being removed now, Jesus is ruling now (verse 4) and in the end he will put all things right, which are only partially redeemed now.

If any of you have followed me to the end, thanks for staying with me! If you have more questions about the basic message of the Bible, please visit  Two ways to live or The Gospel In Six Minutes. It is my sincere wish that all of you come to know the Savior as Lord and King.
The song:

(To hear the song, click the link or paste into your browser. Finally, where it says “Don’t have a Rhapsody account?”, push “Play Now.”)

Lyrics (
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.

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