Christmas songs #4: Hark, the herald angels sing

Another song about the angels is Hark, the herald angels sing which is another one by Charles Wesley. This is one of my top two personal favorites, the other one being Joy to the world.

This song, like most of the great Christmas songs, has more theology in it than the average American absorbs in a whole year. Wesley brings most of the great themes of Christianity into his song:

  • The original sin of Adam
  • Jesus Christ as the second Adam who reverses the sin of the first Adam
  • The fact that Jesus was God in human form
  • Personal belief in Christ
  • Resurrection of the body
  • The kingship of Christ over the whole universe

I don’t even know all of the verses in the lyrics below, but when you take them all together, it is so packed with references to the Bible and theology that you could probably expound this song for a year and not run out of things to think about.

http://www.rhapsody.com/goto?rcid=tra.12647228&artistId=art.6072221&variant=play

(To hear the song, click the link or paste into your browser. Finally, where it says “Don’t have a Rhapsody account?”, push “Play Now.”)

Lyrics (www.Cyberhymnal.org)

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 th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Refrain

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,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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 inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

Refrain




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