Joy to the World

The Psalms were penned as songs. Not surprisingly, they have been sung in part or in whole for thousands of years. In the ancient world, Jewish men and women sang the Psalms as part of their worship. Generations of people in the early church, sang the psalms word for word. Many of the modern hymns and praise songs are directly, word for word, from the book of Psalms. In my home, you can hear portions of psalms being sung everyday.

Long before the birth of Jesus, psalms were sung. Before the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest,” men and women were singing, “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises…shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.”
The Psalms are filled with words of praise and worship directed toward the only one worthy, God.

The Psalms are not just fluffy, feel-good words. Yes, you’ll find words of encouragement, but there is also confession, repentance, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and even judgement. “Let the mountains sing together for joy before the Lord; for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness, and the people with equity.” Why would the Bible’s songbook veer off from just praising God?

How can we truly worship God if we never understand who He is and what He has done for us? All of the emotions, all the needs, all the logic…all of who were are in relation to who God is should lead us to worship. God’s standard shows us how we ought to live. His coming judgement shouldn’t terrify us but result in joyful worship because He offers us His righteousness through Jesus Christ.

Singing the songs of Christmas is one of my favorite ways to celebrate this season. Not only is it a form of worship, but we are able to speak the truth of God’s character, His love, His coming to a world that usually doesn’t listen. While in a store recently, my seven year old asked, “Mommy is this a Christian store? I hear songs about Jesus. Do the people here love Jesus?” I don’t know if the people around us love Jesus but I know they words of Joy to the World and Silent Night were testifying to the truth of Christ as it played throughout the store. What other time of year do we get to do that?


When Isaac Watts wrote Joy to the World, he based the song on Psalm 98. He really didn’t want to write a Christmas song. He was focused on the second coming.

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 world! the Saviour 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.

How it became a Christmas song is hard to determine, but it is one that tells the story well. We were in need of a Savior, the Lord came, we must receive Him, He conquered sin, and He will return to rule one day. Joy to the world! Sing it out this Christmas.

~ Regina


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