Devotions

Jesus is the Light • Devotion #5: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was written by Charles Wesley. He and his brother John were influential in the start of the Methodist church as their missionary zeal continued to explode. Charles is attributed with writing about 6,500 hymns. George Whitefield (or Whitfield) is also attributed to helping with some of the wording. His name is often associated with the Great Awakening (revival in the 1700s).

Therefore, it should not surprise us that this carol is rich with theology and sound teaching. Verse one says:

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 angelic hosts proclaim:

“Christ is born in Bethlehem”

Hark! the herald angels sing:

“Glory to the newborn King!”

I have a hard time reading the words without adding the music and singing it in my mind (I am still out of tune even in my mind). If we are not careful, we will flow right on by a key phrase, “God and sinners reconciled.”

Merriam-Webster defines reconciled as “to restore to friendship or harmony.” Jesus came to restore a broken relationship between sinful man and the Holy God.

The word reconcile is used thirteen times in the New Testament. Romans 5:11 says, “More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” We receive reconciliation with God “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In 2 Corinthians 5:19, Paul adds, “That is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” Again, we read that we are reconciled in Christ to God.

Another beautiful aspect of this carol is the titles that are given for Jesus even though it is only three verses long – Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, Son of Righteousness, Godhead, Incarnate Deity, Christ (three times), and King (four times in three verses).            

Enjoy singing about Jesus, “Glory to the newborn King!”



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