Sunday, December 02, 2007

Music of Christmas: Joy to the World

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. I have chosen four Christmas carols to celebrate the season starting with this one by Issac Watts. His 1719 hymnal, Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament, included the words of this hymn under his original title of his poem, "The Messiah's Coming and Kingdom." In an effort to bring New Testament meanings to the Old Testament psalms, Watts based "Joy to the World" on the last half of Psalm 98.

Joy To The World

(Psalm 98 of David)

Joy to the world! The Lord is come:
Let earth receive her King,
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! The Saviour reigns:
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground:
He comes to make His blessings flow
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

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
Sing to the Lord with the harp,
With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
With trumpets and the sound of a horn;
Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands;
Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
With righteousness He shall judge the world,
And the peoples with equity.

Psalm 98

Issac Watts wrote a contemporary version of Psalm 98 in the 18th century. When The Becka saw this post she told me I had to use this YouTube clip. (Hers is the YouTube savvy generation!) Here is a 20th century version of the carol, a favourite of our children from Claymation Christmas with the California Raisins!.

Addendum - I love it when I pick a topic for a post and find that someone else has been thinking about the same thing. Ginger at For Any Eyes has written an excellent post called Rejoice. It is well worth reading.


  1. Great pictures love that first one and of course the birds are great!

    Rejoice! We were just talking about this attitude of heart with one of the shop keepers in town on Friday ... even physically, it never bodes well for us if we slip down into depression. It is an exercise, this matter of rejoicing ... one with both physical and spiritual benefits! .... and further, a merry heart does good like a medicine. So lets rejoice and let that joy bubble up and out!

  2. What a wonderful idea for the Advent Season! I remember our Advent candles and calendars when you all were at home. I have not seen them at all here in Mexico.
    I know our youngest grandchild would love one.
    Isaac Watts' past makes his writing of this wonderful hymn (Dad's favorite) even more meaningful.
    You made my day Thanks

  3. I had no idea this carol was that old. It's nice to still be singing these, but I also like the change that some of the newer songs bring.

  4. I love the photos and your idea for Advent. I love Christmas carols, especially the old ones. This is the season to rejoice.


  5. Anonymous5:01 pm GMT-5

    Joy to the world and Merry Christmas! This is great and love all the photos that went along with it!

  6. CS- So many people get bogged down with life's troubles and fail to see the potential for joy that is always there.

    Mom- I was looking for a little brass Advent candle like we had at home, with the angels that moved with the candle heat. Advent calendars are great. You will have to pick one up here for next year.

    AC- Actually the carol was not set to the music we know until the mid-1800's, but it is still an old carol. There are many beautiful newer songs that I enjoy too.

    Mary from ON- I love an old fashioned carol sing and am going to my first one tomorrow.

    Monarch- A walk outdoors is the best way to celebrate 'Joy to the World, let heaven and nature sing'

  7. Beautiful post, Ruth.


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