Posted On December 25, 2019

5 Lessons from One of the Most Famous Christmas Carols of All Time

by | Dec 25, 2019 | Featured, The Gospel and the Christian Life

The Work of Jesus Revealed

Did you know that “Joy to the World” was not written as a Christmas carol? In its original form, it had nothing to do with Christmas. It wasn’t even written to be a song. Isaac Watts was one of the great hymn writers in church history, and I guess nothing shows that better than the fact that he wrote one of his most famous hymns by accident. In 1719, Watts published a book of poems in which each poem was based on a psalm.

But rather than just translate the original Old Testament texts, he adjusted them to refer more explicitly to the work of Jesus as it had been revealed in the New Testament. One of those poems was an adaptation of Psalm 98. Watts interpreted this psalm as a celebration of Jesus’s role as King of both his church and the whole world. More than a century later, the second half of this poem was slightly adapted and set to music to give us what has become one of the most famous of all Christmas carols:

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!

Borrowing a few lyrics from this wonderful hymn, which I ran around the house singing as a boy, here’s how I think the joy of God flows out from our hearts into civilization.

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: The Holy Spirit miraculously transforms us through our relationship with Jesus, giving us the joy of God in mind, heart, and life.

Let Men Their Songs Employ: Because God made human beings as social creatures, this joy of God is not locked up in an isolated heart; it flows among us and transforms how we relate to one another.

Let Earth Receive Her King: The church is the special community of people who are undergoing this transformative work, and the Spirit uses the distinct life of the church to further that work by means of doctrine, devotion, and stewardship. The Holy Spirit miraculously transforms us through our relationship with Jesus, giving us the joy of God in mind, heart, and life.

He Comes to Make His Blessings Flow: We live most of our lives out in the world, among people who are not (yet) being transformed in this special way. How we live in the world should manifest the change the Spirit is working in us, carrying the impact of the joy of God “far as the curse is found.”

He Rules the World with Truth and Grace: As we learn to manifest the Spirit’s work in our hearts through the ways we live in the world, the portions of the world that are under our stewardship start to flourish more fully—not in a way that directly redeems people, because only personal regeneration can save a human being, but in a way that makes the world more like it should be and delivers intense experiences of God’s joy to our neighbors.

This is a guest article by Greg Forster author of Joy for the World. This post originally appeared on crossway.org; used with permission.

Related Posts

Weekly Roundup 6/20/2022-6/25/2022

Weekly Roundup 6/20/2022-6/25/2022

This is our weekly roundup of posts for 6/20/2022-6/25/2022. If you have any feedback on how we can serve you our readers better, I would appreciate it. Thank you for reading and allowing us to minister to you throughout this past week through these posts. Monday...

The God Who Sees and Knows Everything

The God Who Sees and Knows Everything

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “Does God Really See Everything?” What You'll Hear on this Episode Selecting from Jesse’s Sons. Like David, Like Jesus. Subscribing, sharing, and your feedback You can subscribe to the Servants of Grace Podcast...

How to Be a Godly Man

How to Be a Godly Man

On today’s For Life and Godliness, Drew considers how the man of God is concerned with the business of God and looks at 1 Timothy and Titus 1 to describe what the man of Good looks like and is concerned about. What You'll Hear On This Episode The man of God is...

Why Christians Should Speak Out Against False Teaching

Why Christians Should Speak Out Against False Teaching

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave considers current statistics on biblical worldview and illiteracy, correcting opponents of the faith with gentleness, and why loving the Lord and others should lead to speaking out against false teaching. What you'll hear...

The 5 Masculine Instincts by Chase Replogle

The 5 Masculine Instincts by Chase Replogle

When I was engaged, I hunted for all the advice I could get about being a good husband. Most of those conversations focused on leading family devotions, getting a good job so I can provide financially, and taking care of issues around the house - even though my skill...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share49
Tweet2
Email
Reddit
Share