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"Songs of Faith: Part 1 - Hark the Herald Angels Sing" 12/12/23

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

As I mentioned earlier, I will be doing a series of devotionals on Songs of Faith. My criteria for choosing songs is simple: faithfulness to the Word of God and (though some may be unfamiliar to you) I will do my best to choose songs that you will know.

As it is the Christmas season, the first song I chose is Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

Written by Charles Wesley in 1739, the hymn, originally titled "Hymn for Christmas Day," was written as part of a collection of Hymns and Sacred Poems. About 20 years later, Methodist minister George Whitfield adapted the song into the form we are most familiar with today. However, it wasn't until a hundred years later (in 1840) that the carol was put to the music we now sing today.

The opening verses to the carol were inspired by the angel's song in Luke 2:14, where they sang 


"Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace among those on whom His favor rests". 

However, there are many allusions to Scripture throughout the song including references to: 

Isaiah 7:14 "Late in time behold Him come, Offspring of a virgin’s womb"; John 1:1-18, Colossians 2:9 and Philippians 2:5-9 "Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail the Incarnate Deity"; Isaiah 9:6 "Hail the heav'n born Prince of Peace"; Malachi 4:2 "Hail the sun of righteousness... risen with healing in his wings"; Haggai 2:7 "Come Desire of Nations, come" (a verse taken by many to be a reference to the Messiah), Genesis 3:15 "Rise, the woman's conquering seed. Bruise in us the serpent's head", Romans 5:17-18, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 45-49 "Adam’s likeness now efface, Stamp Thine image in its place: Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in Thy love". 

As you can see, Charles Wesley was reading his Bible and he saw how Jesus fulfilled the many promises of God. He saw the glory of the child wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. And through his "Hymn for Christmas Day" he invites us to hear and join the angel's song.

 

Hark! the herald angels sing,

  “Glory to the new-born King;

Peace on earth, and mercy mild;

  God and sinners reconciled.”

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,

  Join the triumph of the skies;

With angelic hosts proclaim,

  “Christ is born in Bethlehem.”

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 th’ incarnate Deity!

Pleased as man with man to dwell,

  Jesus our Immanuel.

Hail the heav’n-born 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;

Adam’s likeness now efface,

  Stamp Thine image in its place:

Second Adam from above,

  Reinstate us in Thy love.

Grace & Peace,

Matt

Matthew Deneault


Pastor at Christ Community Fellowship

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