Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blog Caroling: Joy to the World

 In response to footnoteMaven's invitation to go Blog Caroling, I'm re-posting my favorite Christmas Carol as I shared it with you in Dec. 2008. It’s one of my most loved Christmas carols/hymns:
"Joy to the World!"

Joy to the world! the Lord is come; Let earth receive her king;
Let ev'ry 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.
Joy to the earth! 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.
However beautiful the words Isaac Watts wrote in paraphrasing the 98th Psalm, "Joy to the World" would not have become the popular Christmas favorite it is without the contributions of two other important men. It is interesting that these two men were from opposite sides of the Atlantic, lived in different centuries, and never met; yet their collaboration provided the majestic melody for "Joy to the World".

The first, George Frederick Handel, was a German-born prodigy who by the age of twelve had mastered the violin, oboe, harpsichord, and organ while studying law at the university! At thirteen, he decided to give up his legal studies to devote his life to music.......His famous oratorio, "The Messiah" was written in the unbelievably short period of just 24 days.

The second composer to have a vital part in bringing "Joy to the World" to us was the American choir director and education, Lowell Mason. Mason was no stranger to hymns, having hundreds of compositions to his credit during his long and fruitful life....In an effort to find a suitable melody that conveyed the joyous message of the words of the 98th Psalm, Mason turned to Handel's "Messiah". Taking musical phrases from different sections of the oratorio, Mason arranged them into a tune he called "Antioch". Wedded to the words of Isaac Watts, Mason's uplifting melody was published for the first time in 1836.

Three very different men from three very different backgrounds united their hearts and minds to produce this beautiful Christmas carol that has lifted spirits heavenward for over 150 Christmases. Their joint inspiration has truly brought joy to the world!

Taken from "Hymns of Faith & Inspiration" by Pamela J. Kennedy; Ideals Publications Incorporated; Nashville, TN (c) 1990
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