12 Days of Christmas Music: Joy to the World

This carol, inspired by Psalm 98, was written by Isaac Watts in the 1700’s and was part of his published collection of hymns called The Psalms of David: Imitated in the Language of the New Testament, and Applied to the Christian State and Worship (a book written to improve the poetry of the hymns in that day). The lyrics to “Joy to the World” were written by Watts but the tune of the song was rumored to be borrowed from another famous Christmas lyricist: George Fredric Handel.

“Joy to the World” was written for Christmas but not to celebrate Jesus’ 1st coming; it was actually written to commemorate His 2nd coming. It was likely that Watts felt too much attention was given to the nativity scene when celebrating the life of Christ and not enough of the 2nd coming of Christ. His carol speaks far more about Christ’s return as King than it does about His coming as a baby in Bethlehem.

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