I imagine that most reading this are very familiar with the hymn “Joy to the World”, written by Issac Watts in 1719. “Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King; let every heart prepare him room and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and heaven and nature sing. …” Most of my life this song was simply a beautiful Christmas carol to me. Then, I met Reverand Lyle Christianson (my father-in-law) and those assumptions were first shaken, and ultimately shattered.
The first time Reverand Christianson suggested that we as a family sing “Joy to World” in July as our grace before a meal I thought it to be very strange, … quirky. You know, one of those things you find out about your in-laws that you think is odd, but harmless. I had never sung this hymn in July, but we did! As time went on I realized that along with other occassional songs he would want us to sing before meals (e.g., such as”Johnny Appleseed”), “Joy to the World” was sung in July, October, March, …. all year long.
After doing a little reflecting and research I learned that my assumptions about the intention of this beautiful tune were so, so wrong. It turns out that Issac Watts never intended for this song to be just a Christmas carol. The lyrics of this hymn make no mention of the story of Jesus’ birth. Watts wrote this song after reflecting on Psalm 98: 4-9. “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise …
With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together
Before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.“
Watts gave this hymn the heading “The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom”. This hymn is really about Christs’ second coming, rather than his first coming at birth. This song celebrates the joy of Christ coming again. It calls for every heart to prepare room for him and celebrate. So, I should never have doubted the wisdom of my loving, gentle, kind and extremely intelligent father-in-law, Lyle. I am thankful for all the gifts he gave to me and our family, including introducing us to the perfect song of praise and thanksgiving that is perfect to sing any day of the year, not just at Christmas.
About Me: Life is precious, capture its beauty. I am lucky to have a loving family, and wonderful friends. Like everyone, I have good days and bad days, happy days and sad days, patient days and crabby days, beautiful days and ugly days, etc. I try to “hold the bright side up” as much as I can because it makes me feel better, and I think it helps others feel better too. I am so far from perfect, but I try to be kind and respectful. I truly believe that life is precious and that there are so many extraordinary ordinary people and moments in life. I want to share and celebrate the “extraordinary ordinary” through my writing and photography. Please check out my photos at Fine Art America Photography https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/35-laura-smith; at Adobe Stock at https://stock.adobe.com/contributor/207669601/Laura%20Jean%20Smith or at Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/LauraJSmith. Perhaps you will find something you would like to have as your own?