Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her king; Let every heart prepare him room 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.
He rules the world with truth and grace And makes the nations prove The glories of his righteousness And wonders of his love.
Isaac Watts did not write this hymn for the Christmas season. He wrote it as a Christian expression of the themes of Psalm 98. When you read that Psalm are you able to identify the parallels?
What Christmas image comes to mind when you read or sing the words of this hymn?
What image from the book of Revelation is called forth by the final verse?
How much of this hymn can you sing without a hymnal? It is one of the hymns most of us know even though we never set out to memorize it. Think back through your life and try to remember different settings in which you heard or sang this hymn. How far back do your memories of this hymn go?
You will notice that verse two says, “Let men their songs employ!” Some contemporary renderings change the word men to the word all. Why do they do that? Do you believe that the hymn is improved by this change? Do you believe the change is important to the message of the hymn?
The psalmist once asked (see Psalm 15:1) who could approach God? What does this hymnwriter think about this question?
Some people think that the need to keep God’s rules and laws is a great burden. Moses thought God’s laws were so good and just that other nations would envy Israel because of them. (see Deuteronomy 4:6-8) What does the hymnwriter think? What do you think?
Why does this hymnwriter think there is hope that God will come to bring him back if he wanders away in disobedience? (see Luke 15:1-7)
Try praying the words of this hymn. Speak them slowly. Try putting your own name into the words. Think about our call to be Christlike in our lives. What issues in your life come to mind as you pray this hymn?