Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

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This time of year we sing and listen to many songs that are made just for this season. It always amazes me that despite the desire of many people to take Christ out of Christmas (even though it’s a celebration of His birthday!) we still sing the old Christmas hymns that glorify Him and His birth. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is one of those songs.  Often it’s sung at the end of holiday themed movies (It’s a Wonderful Life, anyone?)  If you’re like me then you have probably spent years singing along to this song without giving a second thought to its meaning.  Here I’m going to try to elaborate a little on them to show how meaningful they are. I’m not saying this is exactly what it means; this is simply my interpretation of the lyrics.

Hark the herald angels sing

“Glory to the newborn king

Peace on earth and mercy mild

God and sinners reconciled”

In the last line of this first stanza it says “God and sinners reconciled.”  This is one of the most meaningful lines in the song.  Jesus was born so He could eventually die as a sacrifice for our sins.  It is important to remember that as humans we are born in sin and we deserve punishment and death.  God cannot have anything to do with sin.  But, because of Jesus’ work on the cross we are saved and able to spend eternity in heaven with God.  So, Jesus acts as a bridge or a mediator between humans and God. Through Jesus we are reconciled.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Joyful all ye nations rise

Join the triumph of the skies

With angelic host proclaim

“Christ is born in Bethlehem”

With angelic host proclaim

“Christ is born in Bethlehem”

This stanza reminds us to be joyful and join the angels in praise of God for sending His Son to be born as a baby and die for our sins.

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

Again, this stanza reminds us of the purpose of Christ coming to earth.  “Born that man no more may die.” He was born so that we could spend eternity in heaven with Him.  “Born to raise the sons of earth/ Born to give them second birth.”  Refers to what we might call being ‘born-again’ after salvation.  At the moment of believing in Christ we are made into a new creation.

“Truly, Truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”  John 5:24

Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see

Hail the incarnate Deity

Pleased as man with men to dwell

Jesus, our Immanuel

Pleased as man with men to dwell

Jesus, our Immanuel

One line in this stanza says, “Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see…” this reminds us that even though Jesus was fully human during His time on earth, He was also fully God.

Hail the Heaven born Prince of Peace

Hail the Sun of Righteousness

Light and life to all He brings

Ris’n healing in His wings

I love the line that says, “Light and life to all He brings,” He is the Light, and He gives us life.

Christ the highest Heaven adored

Christ the everlasting Lord

Come desire of nations come

Fix in us Thy humble home

Come desire of nations come

Fix in us Thy humble home

The previous three stanzas remind us that Christ is in fact, God.  He left His magnificent place in heaven with the Father to come down to our level in order to save us lowly humans. We are also reminded to praise Him for who He is and what He has done for us. It is so amazing to me that God would become one of us!  He must really love us a lot!  Can you even imagine having been in heaven for ever and having all the power in the universe, then simply giving it up and being born as a human?  Not only did He become human, but He was born and lived in the most humble circumstances.  The savior of the world was born in a stable to humble parents with almost no recognition at first.  It seems so crazy! To us it might make sense for the King of the universe to be born in a palace surrounded by magnificent and powerful people, but God never seems to do anything as we would expect Him to! The circumstances of His birth (Of which this song reminds us) are a glimpse of what His future ministry would look like, healing and helping the poor, needy sinners of the world.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9

 

 

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