Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Read: John 1:1-14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (v. 14)

We have Charles Wesley to thank for one of our greatest Christmas carols. The song begins with and returns to the song of the angels, pointing us to the great joy Christ brings. But if you listen closely to the words and think about them while you sing, you will find yourself jumping around in the Bible, from Luke 2 to Galatians 4 to Matthew 1 to John 1 to Malachi 4 to Philippians 2, and then back to Luke 2:14 with the refrain after every stanza.

These passages are a mixture of exclamation, exhortation, and theological reflection. The song’s strength does not lie so much in any orderly sequence of thought but in its use of Scripture to teach us. That teaching produces a childlike response of faith; as you sing it out, you too can exclaim “glory to the newborn King!”

My favorite part of this, my favorite Christmas carol, comes in stanza 2, where we sing out the truth of the Incarnation—Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; / hail the incarnate deity, / pleased as man with us to dwell, / Jesus, our Immanuel. If anyone ever asks you about the real meaning of Christmas, point them this way. God was pleased to dwell with us as a man; because of that, Jesus truly is “God with us”—now and forever.

As you pray, worship Jesus, Immanuel.

Listen along: Hark the Herald Angels Sing – King’s College Choir

About the Author

Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.

This entry is part 25 of 25 in the series Carols and Lessons