December 18 – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (A Christmas Carol Advent)





This song was written by Charles Wesley and first appeared in print in 1739.  The opening verse was originally written as “Hark! how all the welkin rings / Glory to the King of Kings.”  The version sung today is different from Wesley original tune mainly due to alterations made by George Whitfield who worked with Wesley.  This song is considered one of the “Great Four” Anglican Hymns.

Commentary & Analysis

This song covers many of the same items as previous songs in this Christmas Carol Advent, and rather than regurgitate many of the same themes covered with those other songs, I thought it might be fun to simply go through this entire song and add verse references and support to the lyrics shown below. So, with just one more week until Christmas, here we go…

(NOTE: where not scripture reference follows a line, the scripture reference on the following line encompasses both lines).

Questions for further Reflection / Devotion

The following questions are meant for your reflection and or devotion.  Feel free to meditate on them, discuss them with your family or others or post your responses here.  I would love to hear from you.

  1. Look up the verses reflected below.  See if you can find more verses to support each of the statements.
  2. Jesus Christ was fully human and fully God.  Take some time to meditate on that truth.  How do you wrap your head around that concept?  What happens when you start to focus on the deity of Christ to the detriment of his humanity?  What happens when you start to focus on the humanity of Christ to the detriment of his deity?
  3. The Bible says that Jesus is the representation of God in human form.  In other words, when we see Jesus, we see the true nature of God.  Read through the Gospel of Mark and consider what that truth means.
  4. When we accept Christ as Lord of our lives, we are forever joined to him – he in us and us in him.  What does that mean to you?
  5. This song refers to “Bruise in us the serpent’s head.”  Take some time to research Genesis 3:15 which is the first prophecy of Jesus found in the Bible.


Hark! the herald angels sing (Luke 2:10)
Glory to the new-born King! (Luke 2:14)
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled! (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
Joyful, all ye nations, rise, (Haggai 2:7)
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King! (Luke 2:8-21)

Christ, by highest heaven adored; (Revelation 5:13)
Christ, the everlasting Lord; (Revelation 22:12-13)
Late in time behold him come, (Galatians 4:4)
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb. (Matthew 1:23)
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; (Hebrews 10:20)
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell; (John 1:14)
Jesus, our Emmanuel! (Matthew 1:23)

Hail the Heaven-born Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
Hail the Son of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2)
Light and life to all He brings (John 1:4)
Risen with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2)
Mild He lay His glory by (Philippians 2:6-8)
Born that man no more may die (John 11:25-26)
Born to raise the sons of earth, (1 Corinthians 15:35-57)
Born to give them second birth. (John 3:3)

Come Desire of Nations come, (Haggai 2:6-7)
Fix in us thy humble home. (Ephesians 3:17)
Rise, the woman’s conquering Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head. (Genesis 3:15)
Now display thy saving power, (Hebrews 7:25)
Ruined nature now restore; (Romans 6:6)
Now in mystic union join (Romans 6:5)
Thine to ours and ours to Thine. (Romans 8:9-11)

Adam’s likeness now efface (Romans 5:17)
Stamp thine image in its place (Colossians 3:10)
Second Adam from above, (Romans 5:17)
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain (Philippians 3:8-11)
Thee, the Life, the inner man: (2 Corinthians 4:16)
O, to all Thyself impart, (Philippians 3:8-11)
Formed in each believing heart. (Galatians 4:19)

Return to a Christmas Carol Advent index page.

1 Comment

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