Darrow Miller and Friends

Joy to the World; Heaven Comes to Earth!

  1. Joy to the World; Heaven Comes to Earth!
  2. Far As the Curse is Found
  3. Goodwill from the Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem

Joy to the World, penned by Isaac Watts, retains its power 301 years after its initial publication. This hymn celebrates the coronation of King Jesus and announces the marching orders for his Kingdom and subjects, imago Dei humans.

The first stanza reads:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

The hymn opens with a benediction – Joy to the World, an act of praise or blessing, similar to the salutations of Paul at the beginning of his letters, “Grace and Peace to you!” Here the word of benediction is joy—the delight of the heart and mind.

What’s the cause of the joy to the world? “The Lord is come!” The world—her peoples, nations, citizens, institutions—is to celebrate the coming of the Messiah and His Kingdom.Joy to the world

Notice that Watts, rather than using the past tense “has come” in that first line, writes “the Lord is come.” While it is true that the coming of Christ is a historic event, Watts understood that the coming of Christ was more than a past event. His coming as the Messiah was ushering in a new era of human history.

The long promised coming of the Messiah and His Kingdom is beginning. Heaven is breaking through to earth, eternity is breaking forth into time, the Kingdom of Light is breaking forth into the kingdom of darkness, God has become human. And so Watts uses the present tense and active voice is come. Christ’s coming is an ever present and ongoing engagement in the world.

Wow, this is reason for the peoples of the world to celebrate! Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Enjoy this rendition of Isaac Watts’s three-century-old carol.

Merry Christmas!

-Darrow L. Miller


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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).