Part 2. King of the Christmas Carols
The coming of Jesus Christ as Savior, King, and Judge is a cause of great joy for all the earth.
“1 Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. 2 The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. 3 He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; 5 make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, 6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the Lord, the King. 7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. 8 Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; 9 let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.” – Psalm 98:1-9
I. Sing a “New Song” to the King at Christmas vv 1-3
II. Sing Joyfully to the King at Christmas vv 4-6
III. Sing to the King Who Will Judge the World vv 7-9
Quick Thought: Joy to the World, An Accidental Hymn
Psalm 98, our text today, is the Psalm that the well-known Christmas carol, “Joy to the World,” is based upon. But did you know that “Joy to the World” was not written as a Christmas carol? In fact, initially, it had nothing to do with Christmas, and it was not even a song.
In 1719, Isaac Watts, a minister and hymn writer published a book of poems in which each poem was based on a psalm. But rather than just translate the original Old Testament texts, he adjusted them to refer more explicitly to the work of Jesus as it had been revealed in the New Testament, and one of those poems was an adaptation of Psalm 98. Watts interpreted this Psalm to celebrate Jesus’s role as King of both his church and the whole world. More than a century later, the second half of this poem was slightly adapted and set to music to give us what has become one of the most famous of all Christmas carols.