Isaac Watts and Joy to the World

The words for one of the most beloved Christmas songs was actually written more to express God’s deliverance rather than Jesus’s birth. In 1719, Isaac Watts’s hymnal, "Psalms of David Imitated," was published as “an imitation of David’s Psalms in New Testament language.”

"Joy to the World" is an imitation of the last part of Psalm 98: “Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together” (KJV). Watts put this ancient Hebrew psalm of praise and deliverance into a song of rejoicing. It was George Frederick Handel, composer of the "Messiah," who may have inspired the music that, with Watts’s words, made "Joy to the World" one of the most enduring and endearing Christmas carols of all time!

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