Isaac Watts wrote “Joy to the World” based upon Psalm 98. The psalm speaks of God’s power in winning a great victory. And, of course, the advent of Jesus Christ marks the beginning of this victory that culminated in the triumph of this same Christ on the cross. God fulfilled the promise he offered to Eve and all of mankind in the Garden. Jesus is the One who would crush the serpent’s head and give joy to a broken world.
Sing a new song to the Lord,
for he has done wonderful deeds.
His right hand has won a mighty victory;
his holy arm has shown his saving power!
The Lord has announced his victory
and has revealed his righteousness to every nation!
He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel.
The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. (Psalm 98:1-3)
This is the good news of the gospel. It is not just a slogan on a beautiful card. We have joy because our Lord has won a great victory. The Christ child became the Warrior King who defeated sin and death. The gospel message of Christmas shows how God’s ways are different from our own. He sends his Son to earth, not as a conquering hero, but as an infant, noticed only by shepherds and foreigners. His great victory is won thirty-three years later, not on a grand battlefield, but on the cross. The good news of the gospel is that the greatest warrior of all time has provided hope for a people who are more lost and sinful than they could ever imagine. These same people now have joy and riches beyond anything that they can conceive. The incarnation of Christ is the one, true, great hope for man. It is the one reason for joy.