Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Prolific hymn writer Charles Wesley, who helped his brother John begin the Methodist Church, wrote the original words to 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing' in 1739 as a Christmas hymn that was published that year in a book called Hymns and Sacred Poems. The first two lines were: "Hark, how the welkin [an old English word for heaven] rings/Glory to the king of kings." But in 1753, Wesley's friend and co-worker George Whitfield changed those lines to the ones we know today: "Hark! The herald angels sing/glory to the newborn king."

The song was originally sung to the tune of 'Christ the Lord is Risen Today'. In 1840, Felix Mendelssohn composed a cantata called 'Festgesang' (Festival Song) to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Gutenberg printing press. The tune that Mendelssohn wrote for that occasion is the one that organist William Hayman Cummings used in 1855 to arrange the lyrics for 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing', resulting in the song that people are familiar with today.

'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing' tells the story of the event recorded in the Bible-after Jesus Christ was born on the first Christmas an angel appeared in the sky to announce Christ's birth and shortly thereafter was joined by a huge amount of other angels singing out praises.

 Fun Fact:
At the end of the popular TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, which has aired during every Christmas season since 1965, the Peanuts characters all sing '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!"

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.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

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.

 Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

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!"

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.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Information provided from Devotionals with Christmas Hymns by Cheri Cowell
cyber Hymns

Christmas dangling barline

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