Christmas Songs

By: Gail Cohen & Gilbert DeBenedetti

'Joy to the World'

©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

The history of the popular "Joy to the World" is truly unusual. Its lyrics originated in the Old Testament as published in Isaac Watt's 1719 translation of the Psalms of David. When American composer Lowell Mason set these words to music in 1839, he added a notation alluding to George Frideric Handel as lyricist (it was common to attribute a song to Handel in those days in order to generate popularity).

Thus, for over a century, the world believed that Handel had composed the song's lyrics. Ultimately, careful sleuthing by musicologists unearthed the truth, and credit was restored to the rightful source: King David.


"Joy to the World" Lyrics

1. Joy to the world, the Lord is come,

Let earth receive her king,

Let every heart prepare Him room,

And heav'n and nature sing,

And heav'n and nature sing,

And heav'n and heav'n and nature sing.

2. 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.

3. 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.

Christmas sheet music: "Joy to the World"

No one is quite sure what the imagery in our next song is meant to represent, but despite that confusion, the song remains a classic Christmas carol. Go to the next page to learn more about "I Saw Three Ships."