The story-behind-the-song (and some help from) Joy to the World

Revelation 22:20
“Come, Lord Jesus” (NIV)

Today’s Thought
Joy to the world! the Lord is come…

Those are the opening words to one of the most popular Christmas hymns ever. They were written by Isaac Watts, the English hymn-writer, and were inspired by Psalm 98: “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth…”

But Watts never wrote it to be a Christmas hymn. He wasn’t writing about Jesus’s first coming, but his second coming. He wrote it about the wide and ascending global joy that will happen when Jesus returns and makes everything right.

When you keep that in mind, the song’s words take on new meaning: That hills, rocks, and plains will repeat the sounding joy!… That no more will sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground!… That he will rule the world with truth and grace!

So here’s what I want to share with you today. Christmas is coming, it’s practically here. And it can get so crazy—physically or emotionally—that you can almost forget what to pray.

So why not adopt a prayer used by the first Christians? It’s found in Revelation 22:20, and is faithful to Jesus’ first coming, his second coming, and is something that all of us need no matter what we’re dealing with:

“Come, Lord Jesus.”

There’s more power in those three little words than there is sugar in a Pepsi.

Pray it before you get out of bed. Pray it in the shower. Pray it when you’re driving. Pray it when you’re struggling through work. Pray it when you’re serving and need a joy boost. Pray it when you’re exhausted. Pray it when you’re walking the mall. Pray it when you walk the halls at school. Pray it when you’re wrapping presents. Pray it before you open your Bible. Pray it when you prepare for a tough conversation. Pray it as you crawl back into bed…

“Come, Lord Jesus.”

Regardless of what other people are up to this Christmas, it’s a surefire way to ensure that at least one heart—your own—has prepared him room.

By Matthew Ruttan

  • Yesterday I published a blog where I answered 7 of your most popular questions about Christmas. It’s an update from previous years, but this year I included another: How do we respect different traditions and still be confident in our own? You can read it here. Enjoy!
  • Vacation alert: The “Up!” Devo will be taking a break after Christmas but will return on Tuesday, January 3rd.

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