Hark the Herald Angels Sing

December 21, 1998

During this Christmas week, I thought it would be refreshing to take a break from the political and social commentaries that I do and focus on the music of Christmas. Today I would like to look at one of Charles Wesley's best-known songs: "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing."

No doubt you are familiar with the first verse that reads: "Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King; Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled."

It's interesting that at Christmas time we talk about peace. There have even been cease-fires on battle zones during Christmas. But this verse isn't really talking about peace from war. It's really talking about the Savior who came to bring us peace with God. That's what the phrase "God and sinners reconciled" means.

Although this is not a popular idea today, we are essentially at war against God because we have sinned against God. We have broken His commandments and thus made ourselves enemies of God. Jesus came to reconcile us with God by paying the penalty on the cross. The price was ours to pay, but God's son paid it in our place.

Charles Wesley's second verse reads: "Christ by highest heaven adored; Christ, the everlasting Lord! Late in time behold Him come, offspring of the Virgin's womb. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the incarnate Deity, Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel."

Christ, the everlasting Lord, became veiled in flesh and offspring of a virgin's womb. His name Emmanuel means "God with us." Though he became man, He did not lose his deity, and thus we had God dwell with us.

This Christmas as we sing the familiar songs and hymns, let's not forget the words. Jesus is our Emmanuel who has reconciled us with God. That is the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of our Savior.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International