Joy to the World (Advent 24-2014)

Joy to the World! is probably my all-time favorite Christmas carol in our Carol Me, Christmas (2014 Advent Devotional Series).  I don’t know if it’s the upbeat melody or if it’s the emphasis on joy, but it’s fully appropriate that as Advent progresses, we moved from anticipation in a dark world desperate for salvation from our earliest week, to the announcement of Jesus’ birth, to the adoration of Christ…now to exhilaration at how amazing it is that the Lord is come.

I always wondered why it is the Lord is come when it seemed like it should be “did” or “has” or simply “came.”  I’m guessing that Isaac Watts (who could arm-wrestle Charles Wesley for the title of Most Noted Hymn Writer) knew exactly what he was doing.

Of course!  Why didn’t I think of it before?  It’s the present tense!

Exactly what one would expect from a pastor and theologian.  The Lord is come.  Once for all time.  Jesus is alive in heaven at the right hand of the Father.  He came into the human struggle at a singular point in the past (what we call the Incarnation), but He is come (as an ongoing presence) in the hearts of an increasing population of saints.  He will never be re-incarnated.  One time in the flesh accomplished salvation forever!  The is connotes a continual presence.

Isaac Watts wrote more than 700 hymns plus numerous theological books during his time as a Nonconformist pastor in England.  Like the Puritans before him and the Reformed Protestants, Congregationalists, Baptists and Methodists after him, he did not conform to the uniform governance set forth by the Church of England.  Rather, he devoted himself to the Scriptures and to the proclamation of the Gospel’s truth in the footsteps of his father who was jailed as a Nonconformist pastor.

Most hymnals have many of his hymns including When I Survey the Wondrous Cross and O God Our Help in Ages Past.  Two classics to be sure!

The score is often noted as “from George Frederick Handel” which isn’t really a Handel composition but was likely inspired by the works of Handel.  In our modern world known for plagiarizing and pirating music without a second thought, it’s actually rather refreshing that credit would be given even for the inspiration for the music entitled Antioch (yes, after the place where believers were first called Christians according to Acts 11:26).  Today, Antioch is presumed composed by, and not simply arranged by, Lowell Mason (1839).

Consider the lyrics below and read Psalm 98 which inspired it.  Enjoy this version of Joy to the World! by the George Fox University Music Department Christmas program while pondering our Thought Focus for Today.

Thought Focus for Today:  How does a continual present accurately depict what Jesus has done for us in His Incarnation?

joy to the world1. Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King;
Let every 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.

2. Joy to the world, 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 the sounding joy

3. No more let sin 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.


Carol Me, Christmas (2014 Advent Devotional Series) began November 30th.  There are only a few days left.  If you haven’t signed up yet, you can receive these devotional studies in your email by entering your email address on the home page in the space provided in the sidebar.  Or “Like” the SeminaryGal Facebook page to access them there.  I will do another devotional series for Lent and will continue to post the sermons from the Acts of the Holy Spirit and Apostles series as well.  If you like these devotionals, I’d really appreciate your letting others know so I can continue to spread the Good News far and wide.  Blessings to you, in Christ always, Barbara <><

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on December 23, 2014

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