Hark the Herald Angels Sing

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Something for a Christmas weekend.   Hark the Herald Angels Sing.  Written by Charles Wesley in 1739, the hymn we enjoy today developed and changed over a century with input from many hands.  No hymn I think better exemplifies the sheer joy that the coming of Christ should awake in the hearts of all Christians.

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.

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 the incarnate Deity!

Pleased as man with men to dwell,

Jesus, our Emmanuel:

Hark! the herald angels sing

Glory to the newborn 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 them second birth:

Hark! the herald angels sing

Glory to the newborn King.

All His angels worthily praise Him, for He is their everlasting food, nourishing them with an incorruptible feast. He is the Word of God, by whose life they live, by whose eternity they live forever, by whose goodness they live happily forever. They praise Him worthily, as God with God, and they render glory to God on high. May we, ‘his people and the sheep of his hand,’ reconciled to Him by our good will, merit peace in consideration of the limited measure of our weakness. For these words to which the angels themselves gave utterance in jubilation at the birth of our Saviour are their daily tribute: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of good will.’ Therefore, they praise Him duly: let us praise Him in obedience. They are His messengers; we, His sheep. He filled their table in heaven; He filled our manger on earth. He is the fullness of their table because ‘in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God.’ He is the fullness of our manger because ‘the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.’ so that man might eat the Bread of angels the Creator of the angels became man. The angels praise Him by living; we, by believing; they by enjoying, we by seeking; they by obtaining, we by striving to obtain; they by entering, we by knocking.

Saint Augustine

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