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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!"

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."


Luke 2:8-14


(Just for the record...the photograph depicts female angels, but the Bible only mentions male angels. I wish I had a true picture! )
"Hark! the Harold Angels Sing" (1855)
Words by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788
Music by Felix Mendelssohn, 1809-1847
Adapted by William Hayman Cummings
from "Festgesang" (24 Jun 1840)
Tune: Mendelssohn
from the 2nd mvt. of the cantata "Vaterland, in deinen
Gauen brach der gold'ne Tag einst an")

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 th'an-gelic hosts proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem."

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

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 th'incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.

3.
Hail, the heav'n-born 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.

4.
Come, Desire of Nations, come!
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman's conq'ring seed,
Bruise in us the serpent's head.
Adam's likeness now efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place;
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.


What amazing words! What blessed words! How many times have we bellowed the song or hummed the tune, but ignored those precious words full of life and meaning!?

I just attended a fantastic Christmas concert performed by a local body of believers. I loved the layout of the program. They emphasized that the baby Jesus not be left in the manger...that the story of "Christmas" is only the beginning of God's plan for mankind. They went on to talk and sing of his life, ministry, death and resurrection. The pastor gave a beautiful evangelistic invitation at the end and reminded us that our eternal destiny was imminent. It was very refreshing and encouraging!

Let us take a moment to look at some outstanding statements in the four stanzas of the song!

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 th'an-gelic hosts proclaim, "Christ is born in Bethlehem"

*God and sinners reconciled!*...Oh, goosebumps! Christ was sent so that God could make a way for us to be with Him! He wants us to be with Him! His desire is that we be reconciled to Him! (
To reestablish a close relationship between. 2. To settle or resolve)

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 th'incarnate Deity! Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.

*Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail incarnate Deity*...He was fully God, but yet completely human/flesh. Jesus Christ is our atonement. Our penalty is death. Defined, Christ's death on the cross made amends or reparation for our 'wrong' ..our sin.

3)Hail, the heav'n-born 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.

*Born that man no more may die. Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth*... Christ's emphasis was on 'being born again'. We must die to self to be able to live fully in Him. Read with me Jesus' discussion with Nicodemus.

John 3:1-7:

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again



4) Come, Desire of Nations, come! Fix in us Thy humble home; Rise, the woman's conq'ring seed, Bruise in us the serpent's head. Adam's likeness now efface, Stamp Thine image in its place; Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in Thy love.

*Come, Desire of Nations, Come!"... There is so much to be said in this verse, but I'll just choose a small snapshot. Israel was under such oppression and had been for many years. Driven from their homes for generations, these were a people truly in need of a Savior. Sadly, many still wait for the coming Messiah even today. They wait for the prophecy to be fulfilled. Praise the Lord that we know our Redeemer came 2000 years ago as a baby...humbly... and is now seated next to the right hand of our Father God! We wait for the return of our Messiah as well, but this will be a second coming, unlike the first! Every man will know Him... every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! Hark! I can't wait to hear those angels sing on that glorious day!

1 comment:

Leslie said...

This is excellent!!! I loved reading it. SO many reasons to praise Him!