Note the Scripture,
• “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.'” (Luke 2:13-14 – NASB)
A favorite carol that is often heard and sung every Christmas is one written by Charles Wesley. He is the author of “Hark The Herald Angels Sing.” Wesley wrote thousands of hymns but this one is probably one of his most familiar works.
• “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 angels host proclaim,
‘Christ is born in Bethlehem.’
Hark the herald angels sing,
‘Glory to the newborn King!'”
But this hymn always begs the question, “Did the angels sing?” The Scriptures regarding Christ’s birth do not record that they did. So, was Wesley, an esteemed theologian, guilty of adding something to the events of the time that never really happened?
Well, in short, the answer is, “No!” His original work, which did not include singing angels, was altered by a man named Geoge Whitefield, much to the anger of Wesley. And the modified hymn, with its added words, was well received and became the hymn as we know it today.
But within its text we can clearly see Wesley’s strong theology,
• “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 God-head see,
Hail th’incarnate Diety!
Pleased as man with me to dwell!
Jesus, our Emmanuel!”
And there is even more, which I would encourage you to take in the entire hymn. Read it, sing it, and ponder its wonderful Christmas message . . . “Glory to the newborn King . . . Jesus, our Emmanual!”
Have a good day brethen . . . and as you walk praise God for the carols of the season that proclaim and glorify our Lord.
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