Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Christmas Carol: Joy to the World

Christmas Carol Messages: Joy to the World


As the Christmas season draws to a close, it seems appropriate to end this series of Christmas carol messages with a carol that was not written for Christmas!

Did you know that one of the most beloved Christmas carols of all time was not written about the birth of the Christ Child? All four stanzas are not about the first advent of Jesus Christ. The author, Isaac Watts, was thinking more about Psalm 98 than the traditional songs of Christmas when he wrote “Joy to the World.”

Yes, the song is about Jesus. But it celebrates His second advent, often referred to as His second coming. Check it out:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King!
Let every 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.


Joy to the World

Hidden references to Bible verses:


“Joy to the world . . . Let earth receive her king!”

  • We hear the echoes of Psalm 98 in this first stanza:
    • v. 4: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth”
    • v. 6: “shout for joy before the Lord, the King”
  • Our world does not yet acknowledge Jesus as Lord and King. But through these words he envisioned a day when the world will shout for joy at His arrival.
  • Heaven and nature will indeed sing, just as the psalmist pictured:
    • vv. 7-8: “Let the sea resound . . . let the rivers clap their hands . . . let the mountains sing together for joy.”

“While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy”

  • The second stanza continues the imagery of nature resound with praise just as the psalmist also pictured in Psalm 96:
    • vv.11-12: “Let the sea resound . . . let the fields be jubilant . . . let the trees of the forest sing for joy.”
  • Until that day, the earth still groans under sin’s weight, as the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:21-22 (NIV):
    • “The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

“No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground . . . far as the curse is found”

  • This third stanza reminds us of the consequences of the Fall recorded in Genesis 3:
    • vv. 17-18: “Cursed is the ground . . . it will produce thorns and thistles”
  • But Isaac Watts looked forward to the day when Christ will return and break the curse of the consequences of sin as it says in Revelation 22:3 (NIV):
    • “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.”

“He rules the world with truth and grace”

  • Isaiah prophesied, “With righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth” (Isaiah 11:4 NIV).
  • And Daniel prophesied, “He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14 NIV).
  • Jesus said of Himself in Matthew 25:31 (NIV):

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.”


It’s easy to become discouraged as we look upon the chaos and moral confusion in our world. But the words of this great hymn, often sung at Christmas, remind us that just as Jesus came the first time to break the power of sin, He will return to rule and reign victoriously!

For other Christmas Carol Messages, check out:

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