Joy to the World has been a favorite Christmas carol for centuries, ever since it was written in the early 1700s. And for good reason—it speaks of the blessings of Christ’s appearance on earth. But do you realize that even though we sing this song at Christmas, it is not about Jesus’ coming to earth as a baby? The third stanza makes this clear: “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.” Was the curse on the earth that came because of sin lifted at Christ’s first coming to earth? No—we are still living in a broken world. The lifting of the curse will happen when the Lord returns. This song that looks forward to Christ’s second coming, when He will return to reign, bringing an end to the curse and to “make His blessings flow”.
So then, should we sing this song at Christmas? Yes! Because the Lord’s first coming established the joy, blessing, and hope that will be fulfilled at His second coming. Now, in this in-between time, we have fullness of joy in Christ (John 15:11), the delight of looking back to what God has done and the hope of looking ahead to what God has promised when Christ comes again. This is our joy and our song. This is the message that we proclaim to the world, the message of forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, and eternal life in Jesus,“The glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love” — there is no greater reason for joy!