My daughter’s second grade Sunday School class presented a nativity play to their parents this past weekend. The play came complete with a narrator (the teacher in the red shirt in the below photo), dialogue, costumes, and hymns.
The kids closed their performance by singing Joy to the World, which caused me to wonder about the history behind one my favorite Christmas carols. So I looked it up! Here are a few fun facts:
The lyrics for Joy to the World were first published in 1719 by Englishman Isaac Watts (1674-1748). Interestingly, despite that the song has become a Christmas carol over time, he wrote it with Jesus’s second coming in mind. Not His first coming. Watts was inspired by the latter half of Psalm 98….
4Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.
The origin of the music for Joy to the World is slightly mysterious, but most credit composer George Frideric Handel (1685–1759). However, no autographed score exists nor other documented evidence to authenticate Handel as the composer. Thus, some think that the music is cleverly ‘borrowed’ from several compositions by Handel.
Joy to the World is now almost 300 years old! It’s a piece of art, made for the glory of God, that’s withstood the test of time. It’s been sung, enjoyed, and appreciated by generation after generation.
Here’s a short video of my daughter’s Sunday School class, singing a portion of it….
Readers, thank you so much for the support you’ve shown to me and my books in 2016. YOU are the ones who make it possible for me and the other ladies of Inspired by Life and Fiction to publish our own pieces of art to the glory of God.
Merry Christmas from my family to yours! May God’s peace fill your heart and home this season. Joy to the world. The Lord is come!