Christmas is soon approaching. You can tell when we go to church because the focus is on the first chapters of Mark and Luke. Christmas parties are spattering our schedule. The music has turned festive (who is kidding here- its been turned since before Thanksgiving).
The stores are busier and the lines are longer. It’s the most wonderful time of the year- for some.
I’m not a Christmas humbug. I just don’t get IN to Christmas like some people do. I find pleasure in the simple things like reading the Biblical account with the kids and looking at the lights around town. I also like to sing a few Christmas carols and hymns.
Tonight I thought I might share what has become my favorite Christmas hymn. I like a lot of hymns and carols, but the words and message of this one has grown on me over the years.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing was written by Charles Wesley in the 1730’s. It was originally a somber tune, nothing like the joyous praise we hear today. The words and tune have been tweaked over the years, but the message is still pretty-much the same as Charles intended.
The song has some great theology in it. Read along the words and see for yourself. I have added my own notes (in italics):
Hark! (means listen up!) The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!” (Luke 2:10 says that there will be peace on earth among those whom he is pleased aka made righteous)
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come, (They had waited a long time for Messiah)
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; (John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.)
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel. (Emmanuel= God the unchanging and everlasting is down here with us)
Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun 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.
Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head. (Genesis 3:15)
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine. (2 Corinthians 4:11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.)
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above, (Romans 5:17)
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart. (2 Peter 1:3 . . .seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.)
How can you not love such an uplifting song? Jesus Christ, God in flesh, came to reconcile the sinful world back to God through his death. His birth was only the beginning as we can now have union with Him in this life.
Now that you have the message- enjoy the music!