Joy to the World: A Christmas Devotional Through Song

Saturday Morning Devotional – 1st in the Song Series

Song Lyrics – They contain the meaning behind the music! Each week leading up to Christmas, I want to take a look at a much loved Christmas song and the meaning behind it. Let’s take a look at the lyrics of “Joy to the World” this week.

lyrics of "Joy to the World"

I don’t know about you, but I grew up singing this song every Christmas season, but I never really thought about what I was singing – as was the case for most songs. In my adult life, I learned to pay attention to lyrics. I have been inspired and sometimes shocked at some of the songs I used to sing as a child, having no idea what I was saying. Today, let’s look at some of the inspiring lyrics in “Joy to the World.”

A Brief History of “Joy to the World”

Isaac Watts, an English minister, wrote the song “Joy to the World” in 1719, and Lowell Mason revised it in 1848. The song was based on the 98th Psalm, one of the psalms of David, and it is one of the most popular Christmas hymns of all time. Although we sing it at Christmas, some experts say that it is really about the second coming of Christ. 

psalms 98 joy to the world scripture

I have always thought about this song announcing the birth of Jesus, (His first coming). but now when I read them, I can see the second coming also. I will continue to sing it with a double meaning! Whether we sing about His birth or second coming, it is a joyous song of praise, and we should make a joyful noise.

birth of Christ joy to the world

Lyrics of “Joy to the World”

Since the lyrics are public domain, I want to share all of them. You may find yourself singing along as you read them.

Joy to the World

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let Earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing

Joy to the Earth, the Savior reigns
Let all 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 sorrow 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

(Taken from The Celebration Hymnal – Songs and Hymns for Worship, #270)

hymn on the piano for praise

Favorite Lyrics

I have never been quite clear as to why we sometimes leave out a verse (usually the 3rd) of a song when singing in church. I have been blessed to have been in some churches who like to sing all of the verses. More times than not, the 3rd verse turns out to be my favorite. It is like the song tells a story, and the third verse is the falling action of the story. It is needed.

The lyrics of the 3rd verse of “Joy to the World” really make this point!

No more let sins and sorrow 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.

We live in a world of sin and sorrow, which entered into the world when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. When that happened, the ground also became cursed.

Genesis scripture thorns

Take a look at those lyrics again. I can’t wait until sin and sorrow are no more. There will be no more thorns or pain where the curse is found – here on earth! There will only be His blessings!

Listen to the Song

Not every version of “Joy to the World” has the 3rd verse. Listen to this one to hear those lyrics. Click here to listen.

Related Posts

Keep a Song in Your Heart
My Top 11 Christian Songs of Hope and Restoration
Lessons from the Christmas Inn Keeper

Whether you look at the lyrics of this holiday favorite as the birth of Jesus or His second coming, both events will “Make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.” As you sing this most published Christmas carol, sing a celebration of Jesus. 

Until next week…

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“Let the whole earth shout to the Lord; be jubilant, shout for joy, and sing.” Psalms 98:4

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  1. I make your toffee/nuts/ chocolate candy all the time, occasionally w walnuts. Everyone, truly everyone, loves it. Thanks for the easy and delicious recipe

    1. Thank you for sharing this with me! We love it too, but for some reason, I only make it during Christmas. Since you brought it to mind, I think I will make some this week. Have a blessed week!!

  2. I had no idea Joy to the World even had a 3rd verse – gah I cannot believe we’ve been skipping over it our whole lives too. It was one of my Granny’s favorite songs and every time I hear it I think of her. I’m sure she’s singing all three verses now! Hugs, CoCo

  3. I enjoyed your review of this hymn. It is one that I have sung since my childhood. My husband and I have an advent devotional with readings by J. C. Ryle (Bishop of Liverpool in the late 1800s). He also points to the two advents of Christ.

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