There was once a young boy who was singing this well-loved Christmas carol in church when he, with a perplexed look on his face, turned and asked his mother, “Mom, who is Herald?” Likewise, many of us have probably sung this tagline hundreds of times without thinking much about what the words mean. If we translated the title into modern day vernacular, it would read something like, “Listen! The angels are singing a heavenly message!”
The night Christ was born, there was great commotion in the heavenly realm. Apparently, the arrival of the Son of God could not go unannounced. God was made flesh, prophecy was fulfilled, the Messiah had come! These were all realities that God wanted to make known to man. The audience God chose to convey this message to seems unconventional according to human standards. He sent the glorious hosts of heaven to the humblest place on earth and made His message known! A group of lowly, poor shepherds was privy to what was undoubtedly the best Christmas performance of all time. These statusless men, who would never be welcomed into the presence of an earthly king, were the first to be notified of the Heavenly King’s arrival. That night heaven met earth in more than one way!
He sent the glorious hosts of heaven to the humblest place on earth and made His message known!
The English Methodist leader and hymn writer, Charles Wesley, was determined to capture the glory of the angel choir’s message for all the church to know. Charles’ goal in writing hymns was to teach the poor and illiterate sound doctrine. His brother, John Wesley, a famous theologian and founder of Methodism, said that Charles’ hymnal was the best theological book in existence. Hark the Herald Angels Sing is no exception. It is rich with truths about the divine identity of Jesus and His mission in coming to earth. This song declares Christ’s redemptive work (God and sinners reconciled) and shouts the deity of Christ (Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, hail Incarnate deity)! The song ends by poetically articulating the power of Christ’s forgiveness and salvation (Born to raise the son of earth, born to give them second birth).
This Christmas as we sing the gospel message in this old-time favorite, let us “hark” unto these timeless truths. Let us listen with fresh and open spiritual ears. May we be revitalized and once again moved to awe by the incarnation and the magnificent things God accomplished on that first Christmas night. Just as the angels couldn’t contain their message, may we too be proclaimers and announcers of Christ’s truth to all those who need to know His wondrous news!