December 3, 2013

Christmas is Coming!

I love Christmas, especially the music! So during this holiday season, and for the next four Tuesdays, I will be sharing the history of some of the most beloved Christmas carols.

Hope you can join me and enjoy the deeper meaning of these beautiful songs.



The first is... "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"

"Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which be to all people."   Luke 2:10

Charles Wesley wrote this beloved carol in  1739. That makes this song 274 years old! : )

I remember watching a film a few years ago about the Wesley brothers and how God moved them into ministry, which is now known as the Methodist movement.  A ministry that started out rough. They weren't exactly welcomed into the churches of the day because they preached with the power of the Gospel, something many churches had fallen away from.

Charles loved music and when he came to Christ and was born again, he began to write many beloved songs. Over 6000!

"He wrote constantly, and even on horseback his mind was flooded with new songs. He often stopped at houses along the road and ran in asking for 'pen and ink.'"

His songs were filled with Biblical doctrine and his love for the Word spilled out onto the pages of each song he wrote.

Charles's songs became very popular and many wanted to publish them, but Charles was adamant that none of his words be changed.

He is quoted as saying here:

"Many gentlemen have done my brother and me (though without naming us) the honor to reprint many of our hymns. Now they are perfectly welcome to do so, provided they print them just as they are. But I desire they would not attempt to mend them, for they are really not able. None of them is able to mend either the sense or the verse. Therefore, I must beg of them these two favors: either to let them stand just as they are, to take things for better or worse, or to add the true reading in the margin, or at the bottom of the page, that we may no longer be accountable either for the nonsense or for the doggerel of other men."

The funny thing is that "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing" was not the original first line to this song. It was actually: "Hark, how all the welkin rings, 'Glory to the King of kings"

Charles's dear friend, George Whitefield somehow convinced him to change that first line to: " Hark! the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn king" and later published it that way and it's been like that ever since.


I've always loved singing and hearing Christmas carols in acapella. They just seem so much richer and powerful that way. Looking around for a video to share I came across this one. I don't know who they are, but they sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" in beautiful acapella harmony.



       Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
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 as man with man 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 man no more may die,
born to raise the sons of earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Come, Desire of nations, come,
fix in us thy humble home;
rise, the woman’s conquering Seed,
bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface;
stamp thine image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”


*All quotes from Robert J. Morgan's book "Then Sings My Soul: Book 1" a collection of great hymn stories.


Buy it HERE on Amazon




22 comments:

  1. Hi Cathy,
    Thanks for sharing the history behind the hymn :) Jen asked us to pray for the person, who linked up before us...Praying God will give you peace and joy today no matter what happens...In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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    1. Thanks for the prayer Dolly. Appreciate it. : )

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  2. That's amazing! I love this carol... I love this time too, is most beautiful and want to listen, watch and read as much as possible staff of Christmas!

    God bless you!!!

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    1. Hi Liuba, I love learning new things about Christmas too! Thanks for stopping by. : )

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  3. I don't know much of the history behind the Christmas hymns, so I'm so excited you are writing about them!

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    1. Some interesting stories to come! Thanks for stopping by Jen. : )

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  4. Hark The Harold Angels Sing is one of my favorites!

    Thank you for linking with Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday! God bless!

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  5. I love this time of the year as well and especially love all the Christmas carols, altho it seems like lately some of the songs they play on the radio as Christmas songs have nothing to do with Christmas at all!

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    1. I know what you mean, though I do love some of the old classics too, like 'let it snow! let it snow! let it snow!' Thanks for stopping by! : )

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  6. Cathy, this is my 1st time visiting your blog, and this book worm loves your background and theme. :)

    The hymns are so rich in theology. "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing is one of my favorites." Thanks for sharing it with us today. I loved the Acapella version you shared by The Blenders.

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    1. Thanks Lyli! Glad you stopped by! : )

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  7. Hi Cathy! I'm visiting from Faith Filled Fridays and you are writing about my favorite Christmas Carol. I sang it from childhood, but it was not until Christmas 1984 when I was 24 years old and expecting my own first born, that I heard the words for the first time. I had gotten saved only a few months before in July, and when I found myself singing along with the carol that first Christmas as a born-again Christian, I broke down when I got to the words "God and sinner reconciled." The Gospel had been there all the time and for all my religious education - and the many times I heard it sung at the conclusion of A Charlie Brown Christmas - I NEVER "GOT" it. Praise God for Christmas - and the Wesley brothers! Joy to you!
    Kathy

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  8. Wow, you have a beautiful story! I loved it. Thanks for sharing here. : )

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  9. I had no idea! I didn't even know, "Hark, the Herald Angel's Sing" was by Wesley! As a writer, it was so neat to read that he ran into houses needing pen and paper....oh how I can relate to that. The NEED to write, just then! Amazing how God has blessed his faithfulness to follow God and become a monumental image in the Methodists movement! Great, well-thought out post! UNITED, Jen

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    1. I had no idea either till I read up on it. It's so fun to find these things out. Glad you stopped by Jen! : )

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  10. Thanks for sharing your words with us at #TellHisStory, Cathy. We just returned home from Haiti, and right away, I turned the radio dial to the station playing Christmas carols.

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    1. Hi Jennifer, welcome home! God bless and thanks for stopping by. : )

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  11. mmm ... so many carols to reflect on, to sing, to remember all year long! thanks for a deeper look, Cathy!

    warmest blessings to you and yours this nativity season.

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    1. Thanks Linda! Blessings to you too. : )

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  12. One of my favorite Christmas carols. Thanks for sharing the history and for linking up with The Weekend Brew!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Barbie and for the opportunity to link up at your lovely blog. : )

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Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )

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