Joy to the World!

December 24, 2009 at 7:24 am | Posted in Theology, Worship | 1 Comment

              On the way home from a worship service one day, the preacher’s son complained that church music was boring.  His father challenged him, “If you think you can do better, then you write a song for us to sing.”  Young Isaac, who had a propensity for rhyme, took on the challenge, and the result so impressed his father that he taught it to the congregation, and they also loved it.  So he wrote a new song for the church every week for the next two years!  Thus began the career of Isaac Watts (1674-1748), often called “The Father of English Hymnody.”  He published hundreds of songs which influenced all English speaking churches for generations.  We still sing some of them in churches today.  Many of Watts hymns present his Puritan, Reformed theology in profound or memorable ways.

            Possibly Isaac Watts’ best known song today is “Joy to the World.”  The lyrics of the later, probably lesser-known, verses present great theological thoughts for Christmas.  Notice the Reformed themes of glory, sin and grace:

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.

Have a glorious, Christ-filled Christmas!

1 Comment »

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  1. Great story. We need a renewal in song writing in our time now.

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