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

October 21, 2019

National Reptile Awareness Day

What’s the best way to celebrate Reptile Awareness Day? Start with a definition. Reptiles are scaly, cold-blooded, vertebrates that include lizards,...
October 14, 2019

Eisenhower's Inaugural Verses

President Dwight Eisenhower was born on this day in 1890. Shortly before his first inauguration in 1953, the president-elect asked Billy Graham to sug...
October 07, 2019

Fanny Crosby: Prolific Blind Hymn Writer

Fanny Crosby, though blind from a very young age, became a prolific hymn writer. Fanny Crosby was 15 when she was enrolled at the newly founded New Y...