7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Christmas was not celebrated as it is today by seventeenth and eighteenth-century colonists.  See my post last year about Advent http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/search/label/Advent

Christmas was primarily a religious period lasting from Advent through Epiphany, without many other festivities. Hymns were sung in some churches, and a fair number of them were being written by the young literary genius, Isaac Watts. Watts, born in Southampton, England in 1674, was the son of a committed religious Nonconformist who had been jailed for his questionable philosophy.

Isaac Watts
By the age of thirteen, Isaac had learned Latin, Greek French and Hebrew, and later studied philosophy and theology. While still a teenager, Watts became critical of the way Psalms were sung in church so his father challenged him to improve the quality of church music by creating his own.

The following Sunday Isaac wrote his first hymn and it was accepted at church with great enthusiasm. He continued to produce a hymn each week for the next two years, and in 1707 he published Hymns and Spiritual Songs. That book and the hymnal he wrote in 1719 were considered the first real hymnals in the English language. With his 600 hymns he became known as the “Father of English Hymnody”.

George Frederick Handel
George Frederick Handel, a friend of Watts, is credited as being the music composer of “Joy To The World”. Handel is best known as the composer of “The Messiah”, which he wrote in just 25 days. These two gifted musical talents were very different in looks and personality. Watts was a plain, diminutive, mild mannered Englishman, while Handel was a vigorous, hot-tempered German. 

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”                                       Luke 2:10 KJV

"Joy to the World," is often sung at Christmas celebrating Jesus Christ’s first coming, but in actuality it is a hymn that also anticipates, with great joy, Christ's triumphant return at the end of the age. This cherished Christmas carol is probably the most famous of Isaac Watts’ hymns.

The hymn is based upon the last part of Psalm 98.

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King.
Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together
Before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.”
                                Psalm 98: 4-9 KJV

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.

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.

To listen to the music:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Janet Grunst

Represented By Linda S. Glaz
Hartline Literary Agency


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by. There are so many beautiful hymns and religious music I enjoy this time of year.

  2. I don't think I knew that about Watts. Wow. that's a lot of work to accomplish in a short time. I fear that as fewer people go to church and the Christ part of Christmas continues to become politically incorrect, a new generation will hardly know the old Christmas hymns and only the popular tunes.

    thanks Janet!
    Have a lovely Christmas!

  3. You're right, Debra. I can't even imagine writing a hymn a week. He must have been so inspired. I picture him going through each day distracted by the words and phrases flying through his mind. Have a blessed Christmas.


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