Joy to the World: A Biblical Worldview (A Four-Part Series)
Part 1: Let Earth Receive Her King!
Worldview can be an intimidating topic to discuss, let alone teach to your children. Isaac Watts has done the church a huge favor in putting a biblical worldview in the form of a song—the Christmas Carol, “Joy to the World.” In this post and in 3 upcoming posts we will look at each of the hymn’s four verses and see how they combine to offer a compelling worldview that brings honor to God. By singing and believing this carol you have the basics for teaching a biblical worldview to your family!
Isaac Watts’ Christmas carol is one of the most beloved of all the Christmas hymns. The words (at least the first verse), are known throughout the world. This hymn is a call to joy. But what is there to be joyful about?
For Watts, the joy is based upon the Advent of Jesus Christ. The King of Creation was born as a baby, to live a life that would accomplish the rescue of lost souls. The only fitting response is joyful submission to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Apart from the rule of Christ, man is hopelessly lost, a slave to his own misguided and failed attempts at self-atonement. Watts’ carol brims with joy, and a call to bow before the one true King. This is theme of the first verse:
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing…
“Joy to the World” is based on Psalm 98. The four verses of the hymn continuously intersect with the truths proclaimed in the Psalm. You can see this by comparing verses 4-7 with the carol’s first verse:
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
“Joy to the World” does shout for joy! The cursed creation receives her King with song. Our first parents doubted God and brought sin and God’s curse to all creation. Try as we might we know there is ultimately is no hope, no reason for joy in a world living in rebellion to God.
“Joy to the World” Now there is hope; there is the good and powerful King who will set all things right! Watts’ hymn is the first building block in structuring a biblical worldview. Yes, the world is a mess, a mess to which each human who has ever lived, save one, has contributed. In response to the cynicism of modern culture, we can declare the glorious truth: Joy to the World. The Lord has come!