Joyful, joyful we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!Henry Van Dyke (1907)
“It would be a pity to attempt to analyze this hymn, and I do not intend to commit that particular error. … I may, however, permit myself to make one observation on this hymn with a view to aiding us in the appreciation of its message. It is this—that the hymn celebrates a joy to be found in nature by the man who finds his first joy in living his own life in Jesus Christ. Anyone who is familiar with my father’s poetry and preaching will at once recognize that the harmony of this double note is his most characteristic accent. How often he declares that Christianity is an out-of-doors religion! How steadily he stresses the joyfulness of a life that rests upon Christ! If a man is a Christian in this simple sense of personal faith and activity, let him step out into the open air and rejoice:
“For the long breath, the deep breath, the breath of a heart without care—I will give thanks and adore thee, God of the open air!”-Henry Van DykeChris Fenner – Hymnology Archive
Henry Van Dyke died at home at his Princeton estate on April 10, 1933. He is buried in Princeton Cemetery.
THOUGHTS WHILE YOU SING
We are blessed to have California poppies growing in our front yard. These beautiful native flowers are so fun to watch bloom in the spring and summer and grow throughout the year. One day, my son and I were making observations about them as we walked around the front yard. He noticed that they close up and “go to sleep” when the sun sets, and “wake up” and open to the sun in the morning. In this hymn, we sing that our hearts are like these flowers; that when God graciously shines on us, showing us the truth of who he is and our need for him, and then calls us to himself, our hearts have no choice but to open to him. It would be impossible for us to resist his warmth, his beauty, and the sustenance that comes from opening to and abiding in him. Just as the poppies in our yard cannot say, “No, sun! I will not open for you,” we also cannot stop ourselves from yielding to this gloriously beautiful and gracious God. Of course, we are all aware that many people say “no” to God and resist him. This is only because God allows them to continue in their resistance and rebellion. When God decides to overcome our broken, sinful, rebellious hearts, it is wonderfully impossible for us to say no. Praise God!! He always triumphs!
Scripture to help us with understand the doctrine of irresistible grace:
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)
“As many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48)
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44)
“No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:65)
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (Romans 9:15–16)
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12–13)
“By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
To get you started, we’ve provided free printable lyrics, music and copywork — all found here!
Fenner, C. “Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee.” Hymnology Archive. 24 June 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2021 from: https://www.hymnologyarchive.com/joyful-joyful-we-adore-thee
Keller, H. “Midstream My Later Life.” New York, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc. (1929)
Editors, TheFamousPeople.com. “Henry Van Dyke Biography” Retrieved November 13, 2021 from: https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/henry-van-dyke-239.php
Piper, J. Is Grace Really Irresistible? Message excerpt from September 7, 2018. Desiring God. Retrieved November 13, 2021 from: https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-free-will-of-the-wind/excerpts/is-grace-really-irresistible