the Hymn of Joy

“The Hymn of Joy” was a poem written in 1907 by Henry van Dyke. Intended to be musically set to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” we know it better as the song, “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.”

Mindful of the current season, allow us to share the original poem in its brief entirety. There is one line I wish to emphasize…

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee

God of glory, Lord of love

Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee

Op’ning 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

All Thy works with joy surround Thee

Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays

Stars and angels sing around Thee

center of unbroken praise

Field and forest, vale and mountain

Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea

chanting bird and flowing fountain

call us to rejoice in Thee

Thou art giving and forgiving

ever blessing, ever blest

well-spring of the joy of living

ocean-depth of happy rest

Thou the Father, Christ our Brother—

all who live in love are Thine

Teach us how to love each other

lift us to the Joy Divine

Mortals join the mighty chorus

which the morning stars began

Father-love is reigning o’er us

brother-love binds man to man.

Ever singing, march we onward

victors in the midst of strife

joyful music lifts us sunward

in the triumph song of life

Van Dyke himself considered this “a hymn of trust and joy and hope.” Perhaps it’s due to that one line — a line most challenging in current culture… 

“Teach us how to love each other.”

Note that there is no self focus. There is no shutting down of another. There is no lack of listening nor insinuation that we are the ones who are always right.

Instead there is a focus on others — learning to love and respect them… no matter what. Maybe that’s the secret to the increased joy.

What a fantastic time of year to join in van Dyke’s call…

Learning how to love and value one another, no matter how alike… no matter how not…