Luke 2:13-14  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

A favorite carol, heard and sung every Christmas, is one written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788). He is the author of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (VIDEO BELOW).  Wesley wrote thousands of hymns but this one is probably one of his most familiar works.  Watch as the Peanuts gang sings this song.  Read the words and ponder their message.  (Don’t miss the symbolism of Christan faithrevealed by Linus in the TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Read below.)

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 th’ angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King!

Singing Angels?

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? 

In short, the answer is, “No!” Wesley’s original work did not include singing angels. His song opened with “HARK how all the Welkin rings, Glory to the Kings of Kings” (welkin is a word for heaven). Much to the anger of Wesley, in 1754 Geoge Whitefield altered the lyrics of his song, changing the first stanza to “angels sing” and shortening the fourth and fifth stanzas. Whitefield’s modified hymn was well received and it’s the version that we sing today; however, many modern hymnals and song books omit stanzas four and five. Read all five stanzas of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.

2. Christ, by highest heaven adored:
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the favoured one.
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see;
Hail, th’incarnate Deity:
Pleased, as man, with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King!

3. Hail! the heaven-born
Prince of peace!
Hail! the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the son of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King !”

4. 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!
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.

5. Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface;
Stamp Thine image in its place;
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love!
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the Heavenly Man:
Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart!
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.

Sing the song and ponder its wonderful Christmas message: “Glory to the newborn King . . . Jesus, our Emmanual!”  Praise God for the carols of the season that proclaim and glorify our Lord.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Charles Schulz, creator of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang, was an amazing evangelist. You might know that he insisted on the Scripture being read in the TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, even though the network wanted it omitted. But have you noticed, when Linus proclaimed the message of God’s angels, “Fear Not?” he dropped his security blanket!!!  A “security blanket” isn’t needed when we keep our eyes on Jesus. And take note that Charlie’s tree “died” and was brought “back to life” only to grow into a most beautiful tree. Also note: where was Linus’ blanket as they sang “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing?”  Linus had laid down his security blanket at the foot of the tree. That sounds a lot like what we do when we come to the foot of the cross.

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