Guest Author - Chris Curtis
This poetic paraphrase of Psalm 98 was written by Isaac Watts in 1719. He was distinguished as the "Father of Hymnody" for the more than 600 hymns he wrote. Like many virtuosos, Isaac revealed his affinity for language and rhyming at a very young age. However, the majority of the hymns to which are accredited to him, are believed to have been written at the age of 20 years old. Hymns and Spiritual Songs was a compilation of his major work published in 1709.
The music was added to Watts poetic Psalm in 1822 with a composition, entitled Antioch, said to be written by Lowell Mason. Mason also began composing music at a young age and was a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and music instructor by the age of 20. Having published 1600 religious works, he was known as the "father of American church music." The music composure is murky and accredited to both Mason and George Fredrick Handel. Some references indicate Mason's work was heavily influenced by Handel, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Thus, it is likely Mason was inspired by a line in Handel's music to write this melody.
This hymn is a joyous celebration of the coming of Christ. It asks that each of us open our hearts to Him as our King. The words of the song speak of his reign and announce the righteousness of his rule. The song is meant to praise the glory of his love of mankind in celebration of his birth. Thus, its clear connection to the Christmas Celebration.
Christmas has become a commercial holiday in this fast paced modern society. The focus is on "things" rather than on what is real in our lives. It should be a time to reflect on our lives while making lasting memories with family and friends. The joys of living are to be celebrated for that is the true meaning of Christmas.
Joy to the world! The Lord has 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 world! 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.
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.