Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
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!”
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King.”
With its lyrics penned by Charles Wesley in 1739, this venerable hymn has stood the test of time and continues to be sung and celebrated as a standard in the Christmas season.
Originally, Wesley had thought it best to employ a slower, more solemn tune in keeping with its message. The hymn underwent changes in both its opening lines, to the ones used today by George Whitefield, and in its tune, the more lively one, composed by Mendelsohn.
The hymn is based on Luke 2:14, which reads, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” It states the good news and the reason for our celebration!
Hark the Herald Angels Sing has been sung by children and adults alike, and in many genres. In “A Charlie Brown Christmas” the Peanuts gang sings while gathered around Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, which is swathed in one of Linus’s blankets in the snow. And there is the stirring, soulful rendition sung by the great Gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson. Countless choirs have voiced it over the ages, including London’s King’s College Choir.
I regard this hymn as one of my “top 10” favorite Christmas hymns. It simply states the good news of Christ’s birth; the reason we celebrate!
Have you ever thought how fortunate we are to have so many wonderful hymns with which to sing of the good news?
— Jeff Bennett