“But the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)
One last song of the season as we prepare for Christmas Eve’s arrival tomorrow. We’re not going with anything new or particularly different today. Instead, we’re going with something old. This is a classic Christmas carol that was first published in 1739. I heard a wonderful podcast the other day in which the interviewee described this as the greatest Christmas carol ever.
It was written at a time when religious revivals were sweeping across the United States and England. This was when the Methodist Church was forming, and protestant groups generally were gaining strength. Baptists were multiplying much to everyone’s chagrin, and evangelicals were first starting to become a meaningful Christian group. About this time, participants in these various revival movements started to increasingly write their own much rather than merely singing the psalter as believers had done for a very long time prior to this point. In a sense, these hymns were the contemporary music of their day.
This was one of the first Christmas hymns written in this significant period of history. Like so many of the hymns of the day, it is filled with rich theology that can be used to teach young believers some of the great and deep truths of the faith if they are exhorted to listen carefully to what they are singing.
The hymn speaks of angels heralding the birth of the newborn King. It calls for joyful nations to rise in praise of the God who would send His Son for us. It proclaims the fully divinity of Christ at every point in His human existence. It speaks of the healing He would bring the world, and of the second birth to eternal life God promised us through Him.
By now, I suspect you have successfully identified our final song of the season as Hark! the Herald Angels Sing. As you prepare on this second-to-last day of the Advent season, may you reflect joyfully on the third day from now with a wonderful rendition of this great carol by Phil Wickham. Blessings and Merry Christmas to you!