Perhaps one of the favorite things about the Advent Season is the dual meaning behind the readings, the hymns and the season itself! Advent means “to come, arrive.” We usually associate it with the birth of Jesus Christ. And rightly so. We remember his coming into the flesh as the babe in Bethlehem. But if one stops to think about it for a moment when you sing the hymns, read the Scriptures, and listen to the sermons, the babe in Bethlehem is just a launching pad to what we really want to get to: The Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
Joy to the World is such a hymn. Written by Isaac Watts in the early 1700’s. Christian sing it during Christmas, but Watts meant it as a hymn proclaiming the events and mood of Jesus Christ’s second coming. When you realize this, it changes the meaning of the hymn entirely.
“Joy to the World the Lord is come!” This is something that will be shouted in joy when the Lord Jesus comes again. You will sing a glad song when he returns. Isaac Watts pulls themes from Psalm 98 when it says that we and all creation should make a joyful noise to God.
When Jesus comes again, the images of Romans 5:12-21 will be realized. The blessing of Christ will undo the effects of the curse as far as the curse is found! Death through Adam, but life in Christ.
The final image that Watts pulls together is from the final chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22:1-5. There upon the throne sits the Lamb, who makes all things new, who rules the world with truth and grace.
This year, sing this song with great joy and gladness, sing it as you remember the birth of Christ, sing it as you look forward to singing it on the day when Jesus Christ the Lord returns.
Joy to the World
Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King;
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room, and heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.
Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains, repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy, repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found, far as, far as the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love, and wonders, wonders of His love.