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 the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!”
Proclaiming the glorious mystery of our Saving Sovereign, it is no wonder this Christmas Carol is beloved. The baby born in a humble stable would indeed be the Savior of the world, the King of Kings.
Charles Wesley composed this song in 1739 within a year after his conversation to Christianity. Wesley wrote it as, “Hark, how all the welkin [heavens] rings.” It was his friend and pastor of Great Awakening fame, George Whitefield, who in 1753 rewrote the verse as, “Hark! The herald angels sing.” The observant might notice one more curiosity, as well. Luke 2:13 records the following, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying…” Not singing. Saying. Angelic hosts should allow for poetic license.
Beyond it’s origin, however, let us consider one, profound truth—a brief line with deep import—“God and sinners reconciled.”
Our English word, reconcile, comes from Latin—to make good again, repair—and, it is defined as meaning, “to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent: to reconcile differing statements; to reconcile accounts.” To restore. To make right. Reconcile.
Why do we celebrate Christmas?
Why do we sing such Christmas carols?
That one, profound truth: Jesus was born to pay the penalty for all of our sins; a debt we can never reconcile on our own. Compared to the absolute holiness of God, even our righteousness is as filthy rags. We needed a Savior.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans 5:8
All of us have sinned. No matter our moral system, we must admit that we’ve fallen short. God’s morality is absolute; we’ve all fallen short. Yet, because of His great love for us, God gave us Jesus.
Jesus came to reconcile us to—restore us to the right relationship with—God.
As Romans 5:10 proclaims, “For if, while we were Godʼs enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” He reconciled us. He saved us.
We’ve been given a priceless gift: Reconciliation with God.
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