Favorite Christmas carol: Hark, the Herald Angels Sing

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By Guest Writer Dan Gaffney, Delaware 105.9

As a former hardcore punk rock aficionado circa 1981, it’s amazing for me to dwell on how much I currently love Christian hymns and carols as my favorite type of music.   With my current musical tastes such a radical departure from my past love,  I can only blame it on a radical Savior; the Savior we celebrate during this time of year.

My favorite of all Christmas carols is “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” written in the early 1700’s as a poem by Charles Wesley.   Charles was the brother of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church.  I marvel at how a man can so succinctly relay powerful truth’s and bust a fat rhyme at the same time.

This poem was later modified and set to music by one of the most famous evangelist of all time, George Whitefield.  Side note:  some historians have said that aside from the Apostle Paul, Whitefield may be the greatest evangelist in all of history.  George Whitefield once preached in Lewes, Delaware but that’s another story for another time.

The modified Whitefield version of the Wesley classic is most likely the version you may find yourself singing while attending worship this Christmas season, or when visiting a local church.

Here are the lyrics to read and to marvel.  (“born that we no more may die, born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth. “  Bam!)

Hark! the herald angels sing,

“Glory to the new born 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 new born King!”

Christ, by highest heaven 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 new born King!”

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Sun of Righteousness!

Light and life to all he brings,

risen with healing in his wings.

Mild he lays his glory by,

born that we no more may die,

born to raise us from the earth,

born to give us second birth.

Hark! the herald angels sing,

“Glory to the new born King!”

Merry Christmas!

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