The first song was "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear." This hymn was written in 1849, and addressed the difficulties of the changing world. The writer expressed his belief that the birth of Christ was not just a one time event, but something that has, or should have, ramifications continuously throughout history. In verse two, the writer expresses his belief that Christ's message is still being brought to us by angels who "float o'er all the weary world" to lift us with the hope of His Gospel. The third verse in our LDS hymn book then moves right into the prophecy of the Second Coming. The "days are hastening on" when we will welcome our Prince of Peace and the whole world will join together in song rejoicing, and we will answer the angels.
The next song that had a message of the Millennium was "Joy to the World." The arrangement we use in our LDS hymn book is by W.W. Phelps, who edited and printed Emma Smith's collection of hymns. He arranged a significant number of the hymns, altering the wording of some popular Christian hymns to reflect the unique doctrine of the restored gospel. The original words to "Joy to the World" were written by Issac Watts in the 1700's. Actually, his original title for it was "The Messiah's Coming and Kingdom" so that indicates that he, too, considered this hymn not just a "Christmas" song. Once you get past the first verse, it is obvious that, although this tune has become totally associated with Christ's birth celebration, the words are about the great event of the Lord's return to reign and rule in peace and glory for a thousand years.
I guess I'm going to need to take my Primary president's key and go over to the church one of these days with my hymn book, just to play Christmas songs on the organ. This will be the first year in a decade...really...that I haven't been the organist during the Christmas singing season at church. So, I'm just going to indulge my need. I should take CoolGuy with me---he loves Christmas hymns, too. What a lovely way to spend an hour, musically celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.