Theologically Singing — Hark! The Herald Angels Sing


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Each Theologically Singing is intended not as criticism, nor as blind faith. Rather, I expect to find God in each of these songs. Additionally, I will not be dealing with “live” versions and such, rather, just the lyrics. 

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Verse 1

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 angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Each Christmas numerous people of all faiths and beliefs sing of the baby boy who was heralded by angels to shepherds in the midst of night. “Today a Saviour, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David” — that is, Bethlehem. (Luke 2:11) This baby boy would bring “peace on earth to people He favours” (Luke 2:14) and would once more reconcile God to those who had sinned, the race of man who had turned their backs on their Creator. God sent this baby boy so that He could be reconciled to us (2 Corinthians 5:18). This baby boy, Jesus, brought together Jews and Gentiles to “create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross” upon which he would later die. (Ephesians 2:15-16)

And above those shepherds, on lonely hills where shepherds guarded their sheep, “there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people He favours.” (Luke 2:14)

Each year, when we sing of the heralds singing, we join in this “multitude of the heavenly host with the angel”.

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Verse 2

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 the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ came down to Earth from heaven (John 3:13;6:33, 38, 51) many hundreds of years after the people of Israel may have wished He would come. This Son of Man — God’s “beloved Son” in whom He takes “delight” (Matthew 3:17) — was born to Mary, of the line of David, a virgin (Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:27), to fulfil what had been prophesied by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14). This prophesied child was at once God and man. He existed “in the form of God” but “did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.” (Philippians 2:6) “For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ” (Colossians 2:9) but, despite this, “He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7) Jesus veiled His deity so that He could live with us so that He could “be like His brothers in every way” (Hebrews 2:17).

And in His name do we find all of this — Jesus was to be named Immanuel, “which is translated “God is with us.”” (Matthew 1:23) Jesus came to Earth, became one with us, taking “up residence among us” (John 1:14).

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Verse 3

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son 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!”

This heaven-sent “child will be born for us … and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) This Son of Righteousness brought righteousness to everyone else — “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus “abolished death and has brought life” — was raised from the dead by the same Spirit that “will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.” (Romans 8:11)

Jesus Christ descended from heaven, setting aside His glory so that through His life and death and resurrection He would create for us a means through which we could be saved from eternal damnation. This second birth is the only thing that allows us to “enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:6-7), redeeming “us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us,” (Galatians 3:13) so that we can be “saved by grace!” (Ephesians 2:5)

“Hark!” In chorus with the angels, let us sing and remember, “Glory to the newborn King!

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Image Credit: 20 December: Hark! The Herald Angel Sings via Darren, Flickr

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