It’s two days until Christmas! Needless to say, this is going to be my last post until the 26th, so I thought I’d better get festive. Today I wanted to look at the lyrics of a really famous carol and just unpick a bit about what we’re actually singing. ‘Joy to the World’ was originally written by Isaac Watts, in 1719. I’m guessing we’ve all at least heard it, so I went and found a really original version for you to listen to while you read on. Enjoy!
Joy to the world
I love this line! Think about it: the writer is wishing joy – exceeding gladness and rejoicing – on everyone in the world. He’s not explained why we should all be rejoicing of yet, but what a way to start a song! I also really love this quote by C.S. Lewis: “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” This makes a lot of sense! In the Bible, when the angels told the shepherds of Jesus’ birth, they said: “I bring good news that will bring great joy to all people.” (Luke 2:10)
The Lord is come!
And here’s where the good news comes in! Hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, prophecies concerning him were already being recorded; check out Isaiah 7:14 – “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).”
Let earth receive her King;
You know that little baby that was born in a grotty stable? Yeah, he was kind of the King of the WORLD. Revelations 1:5 says that “Jesus Christ is […] the ruler of all the kings of the world.”
Let every heart prepare Him room,
This isn’t a literal heart, guys. I’m sure you picked up on that. Romans 10:10 says that “it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God.” Watts is telling his listeners to make space in their lives for God! This isn’t a weird possessive take-over though; Asaph (a really good Old Testament song writer) wrote “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
And heav’n and nature sing,
David (an Old Testament king and really famous poet and singer) wrote that “the heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftmanship.” (Psalm 19:1)
I wanted to finish up with one more Bible verse – this one’s another prophecy, this time by a guy called Zechariah: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation.” (Zechariah 9:9)
“Shout to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
Give thanks to him and praise his name, for the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.”
I wish you all a very merry Christmas!