For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful… (Isaiah 9:6)
It’s hard to know what Isaac Watts was thinking about when he wrote Joy to the World, but he may have had this passage in mind. This was also on the mind of another composer who lived at the same time in London.
George Frederick Handel is credited with writing the music for Joy to the World. He also wrote one of the most famous of all classical pieces, his oratorio Messiah. Handel wrote the fifty-three musical numbers in this oratorio in just twenty-four days! Handel and Watts apparently knew each other in the 1740s in London, and may have even discussed the truth found in Is. 9.
Both men understood the wonder of God and his love for us. They both saw the coming of Jesus as a baby as a strange, remarkable, one of a kind event. His coming brought awe and delight to their minds, which caused them to worship God in song. The psalmists agree.
- I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. (Ps. 77:11)
- You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. (Ps. 77:14)
- We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. (Ps. 78:4)
- To him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:4)
Meditate on the wonders of his love this weekend as you prepare to worship God.