Joy to the World

Christmas is on its way, each day drawing nearer. Ornaments are being hung, lights are being strung. One by one the radio stations are bowing to the inevitable and Christmas carols fill the air.

As you listen to the songs – the majestic ones, the silly ones and the classic ones – I know there can be some songs that have a tendency to cut those who have had a year of heartache. I know that for many this past year has involved hurt. There have been setbacks. There has been loss. You have seen things, endured things, and are even now carrying things that are difficult to bear. And the truth is, it is hard to listen to “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” when you’re traveling to the hospital for yet another treatment or when you’re passing by an empty room that once was filled. There are times when even joy can be an insult.

And yet, there is one song of joy that you will, without a doubt, hear this Christmas season that I hope will be different. The song is “Joy to the World.” It is the misfit Christmas song in that it was never meant to be a Christmas carol. In fact, it has nothing to do with Christmas, nothing to do with Christ’s first coming. It was a song written by Isaac Watts in the 1700s meant to celebrate Christ’s second coming and the establishment of His perfect, heavenly kingdom. Inspired by Psalm 98, Watts seems to rip aside the darkness, the bleakness of this world and to peer into another. Gazing into this kingdom, Watts is overcome. He turns back to us bursting to share what he has seen: “Joy!” He declares, “Joy to the world! The Lord is come…”

Joy to the World?

Take a moment to read the words of the carol; there is no doubt of Watt’s eagerness for the coming day. He could see through the eyes of faith Christ’s return: a new heaven, a new earth, sorrow laid forever to rest, tears dismissed for eternity. He could see a world of wholeness, wellness, and unceasing joy.

As you read the words of the carol, you can’t miss the tone of triumph, a radiance that seems to say, “At last!!!” It is an emotion that may ring true for some of you. You see, Watts was no privileged theologian-poet writing about cold, stiff facts. Watts knew what it was to suffer. He spent years broken by illness. He lost a much-loved and longed for position due to his physical disability and he knew what it was to have dreams dashed, plans put on hold, and brokenness reign. In addition, he knew what it was to live under the curse, so he could easily envision what it would be like to live beyond it. He knew it would be joy. His confidence unshaken, his hope sure, he filled his cup with expectant joy awaiting the day when he would get to drink it.

Christmas can Restore

Though the heartache of this past year may hinder you from savoring every Christmas song, it ought not bar you from singing with hope, “Joy to the World.” For heartache merely makes the longing greater, the need more urgent. Put plainly, sorrow makes us thirstier for joy; and the joy of heaven is a joy that cannot be taken away. It cannot be lost through weariness or broken dreams. It cannot vanish with the vanishing of earthly relationships. The joy of heaven is a joy that fits perfectly inside a broken heart.

While the darkness of this year may crowd out some of the beauties of Christmas, don’t let it rob you of this. Stand by the side of Watts, peer with him into the kingdom that is coming. Look with your eyes of faith into a world restored. Gaze at a kingdom where your sorrow is put right. Then let your heart fill with joy as you sing to the King Who is coming to bring this great joy. Tune out the empty clamor of this world’s Christmas songs, and let your soul sing with passion, “Joy to the World!” For truly the Lord is coming!!”


Joy to the World

  • Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
  • Let earth receive her king;
  • Let every heart prepare Him room,
  • And heav’n and nature sing,
  • And heav’n and nature sing,
  • And heav’n, and heav’n 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 sorrow grow,
  • Nor thorns infest the ground;
  • He comes to make His blessings flow
  • Far as the curse is found,
  • far as the curse if 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, and wonders of His love.


If you are seeking support through prayer, please visit our Prayers for You page. We invite you to allow us to pray for you… for your heartache, for your family, for your future or whatever is pressing down on your soul today.