Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Story Behind "Joy to the World"

I have a bit of a nerdy habit-- I love to discover the stories behind songs. Due to this odd fascination, I thought it would be fun to learn some of the stories behind favorite Christmas carols for Music Monday during December. What better place is there to start then the first Christmas song in the hymn book, #201 Joy to the World ?

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I have always loved the wording of Joy to the World. I think it so so cool that of all the words that could have been chosen to describe the emotions associated with Christ's coming, joy was chosen. Not temporary happiness or mediocre gladness, but lasting joy.

How did the composer, Isaac Watts come up with this beautiful phrasing? According to this article, the joyous song [haha see what I did there? Pun intended.] was based this passage in Psalms 98.

"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises."

I find it very interesting to note that this scripture is actually about Christ's second coming. Watts realized this and wanted to relate the prophesied joy of the second coming to the Savior's first coming long ago on that night in Bethlehem. 

I love this song because it shows how joyful celebrating the Lord's birth is, and how wondrous it will be when He returns again. Truly, both comings bring true and everlasting "joy to the world". 

This hymn sounds lovely no matter who sings it, but this arrangement performed by David Archuleta and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is one of my favorites. 

May your days be filled with Joy this Christmas season!


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