#253: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Those of you who have been with me for at least a year know I love Christmas hymns. Most years, Christmas music starts being played on the radio and in stores right after Thanksgiving. But this year, I heard my first Christmas music, a hymn no less, right after Halloween (how apropos!).

Angels Sing

One of my favorite hymns is Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Charles Wesley wrote this beautiful, theologically rich hymn in 1739. George Whitfield made a change to the opening verse in 1753. Over the years, other changes included shortening the hymn from its original ten stanzas to the three we commonly see today.

Despite the changes, this hymn retains its beautiful, powerful message just as it was when it was proclaimed by Wesley some 278 years ago.

Our Savior is Born

In the first stanza, Wesley begins with a direct reference to the angels of God announcing the birth of our Savior from Luke 2:14 (note the quotation marks in the second and third lines). Our Savior will bring peace on earth and reconcile God and sinful man. All nations should be joyful as they proclaim Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Jesus is our Emanuel!

In the second stanza, Wesley proclaims Christ Jesus as our eternal, everlasting Lord. Born of a virgin, He is God incarnate in the flesh of a man.

Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Praise the Prince of Peace

In the third stanza, Wesley offers praise for Christ, the righteous Savior of man, who lived and died and rose again. He was born to bring salvation to mankind through the glory of His sinless life.

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Let us be especially mindful of the great sacrifice that our Lord and Savior endured on our behalf so that we might have the assurance of eternal life.

No greater sacrifice has ever been made.

No greater gift has ever been given.

My Christmas prayer for you is that the love of God and His peace will be with you always.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! by the Celtic Women live at the Helix in Dublin

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What is your favorite Christmas hymn and what special meaning does it have for you?

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Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God

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