Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
History isn’t just dry dates and statistics. History is human. History can be a great source of strength and affirmation, an aide to navigation, especially in dark and dangerous times. And the words and music we love that have stood the test of time mean still more when we know their story.
- David McCullough, American historian and author
JOY TO THE WORLD
Isaac Watts published the words for this hymn in 1719. He had written his first hymn in 1692 at the age of 18 as a protest against what he thought was the low quality of songs in Anglican hymnals.
A nonconformist pastor and prodigious author of theological and philosophical books (about 60) and hymns (about 700), Watts (1674-1748) is most remembered for the extraordinary hymns, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross," "Our God Our Help in Ages Past," and "Joy to the World!" The renowned nineteenth-century English author Matthew Arnold considered "When I Survey" to be the best hymn in the English language. "Our God" has been described as "England's second national anthem," and "Joy" ranks in the very top level of Christmas songs.