the weblog of Alan Knox

Each one has a hymn: Joy to the world!

Posted by on Jun 28, 2012 in edification, gathering | 6 comments

Each one has a hymn: Joy to the world!

In two previous posts, I asked how singing can be edifying to the church and offered one example of how we have attempted to make singing more edifying by attaching the lyrics of the songs to our lives. (See my posts “Each one has a hymn” and “Each one has a hymn: Singing for edification.”) In another post, I explained how a brother shared how the song “Jesus draw me ever nearer” in his own life and in doing so edified the whole church. In this post, I’m going to share another example of a song that was shared in our gatherings over the last few weeks.

One Sunday morning, we were talking about one of our sisters. A few weeks earlier, she had been diagnosed with cancer again, and the doctors had only given her six months to live. She had been struggling physically… although she was and still is very strong spiritually. Someone mentioned visiting her, so I called her. It turned out that she had just woke up, and she felt strong enough for visitors.

So, we all piled in a few cars and headed over to her house where we spent the next hour or so talking, singing, praying, reading Scripture, etc. Our intention was to encourage her and her two daughter who were taking care of her. Instead, we all ended up being built up in Christ.

Now, in the past, before she learned that her cancer had returned, she had always responded to times of singing and testimony with something like this: “I always have a praise for my Lord!” This morning – in spite of the cancer and the weak body – she also wanted to share a praise with us. Then, she asked if we could sing “Joy to the World” (by Isaac Watts) together. Yes, “Joy to the World.” It’s much, much more than just a Christmas carol. So, we sang…

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 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.

No more let sins and sorrows 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.

There’s not much more to share about this example. In spite of her physical struggles and her sickness, this sister edified us with her faith in God and her continued desire to praise him!


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 6-28-2012

    I’ve often contended that “Joy to the World” is not a Christmas carol at all. Based on Psalm 98, it speaks of Christ’s second coming, not His birth. Misconceptions about the hymn aside, it is definitely one of my favorites!

  2. 6-28-2012


    Yes, I agree. But, I would say that it speak of Christ’s first and second coming. The English of Isaac Watt’s day (as seen in the first line) would probably best be translated, “Joy the world, the Lord has come…”


  3. 6-28-2012


    It’s all about the message revealed in the words, not how much the tune tickles our fancy.

  4. 6-28-2012

    right on, go, go, go mine is amazing grace, and many others as they come to me as I walk in thankfulness

  5. 6-29-2012

    Great perspective…”He comes to make His blessings flow; Far as the curse is found.”…a hymn that includes references to healing!

    I vote to include Charles Wesley’s And can it be…especially one of the later verses:
    Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
    Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
    Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
    I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
    My chains fell off, my heart was free,
    I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

  6. 6-29-2012

    Aussie John,

    That’s true. And we’ve found the message is even more significant when we understand why someone asked to sing a certain song. Then, it becomes about both the lyrics of the song and the life of our brother or sister.


    Amazing Grace is one that we sing often also.


    Yes, we sing the Wesley hymn “And Can it Be” often also.