Joy to the World

I bring you good news of great joy.
                         —Luke 2:10

Fifteen-year-old Isaac Watts (1674–1748) constantly complained about the “atrocious music” in British churches. His father, tired of his grumbling, challenged him to write something better.

That evening he wrote his first hymn. For the rest of his life, composition was his passion. He became known as the “Father of English Hymnody,” producing over 750 hymns, including O God, Our Help in Ages Past, and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, which many hymnists consider the best worship song in the English language.

One of Watts’ carols that we hear often at this season is Joy to the World, with music scored by George Frederick Handel.

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

Reserve a room in your heart for him
and no one can steal your joy.

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