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!

Share

More Book Minute Features

February 10, 2020

Charles A. Tindley

Charles Albert Tindley, whose father was a slave, became one of the prolific gospel songwriters of his time! Although he didn’t attend school, he l...
February 03, 2020

Horace Greeley

Horace Greeley, born on this date in 1811, served in Congress, ran for president, helped organize the Republican Party, and founded The New York Tribu...
January 27, 2020

The Washington Monument and Exodus 28:36

The Washington Monument, at 555 feet, is the tallest public structure in Washington, DC, and is located on the National Mall. It took thirty-six years...