A herald is a proclamation of something extremely important. Noah Webster wrote in his 1828 dictionary that the herald is a publication of something that is a forerunner and precursor to everyone’s attention and interest.

In 1738, Charles Wesley wrote the poem describing what even the angels are proclaiming now. Out of the 7,270 hymns he wrote, 4,000 were published during his lifetime. This poem was one of his first, written shortly after he received Christ as personal Savior.

The song “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” sat as a poem with no certain tune for over 100 years. It told about the marvelous joy that God’s Son came to earth, for whosoever would truly believe and then unashamedly receive Him as personal Savior.

In 1840, the great musician Mr. Mendelssohn put the words of this poem into a festive song for men’s voices and brass instruments. He died in 1847 and never dreamed that this would become such a carol sung by millions in years to come!

Organist William Cumming then arranged our song into today’s most widely used melody that still speaks meaningfully to Christian hearts today. By 1856, the song began to be published and then included in the hymns we love to sing and hear in this special Christmas season of Christ’s birth.

We can more meaningfully accept the truths written as we read the four verses. Verse one:

“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 angelic hosts proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.”

We all have a great need to be forgiven for our selfish and evil sin. It is so humanistic for us to seek justification and smug reasoning to help smooth over any discrepancies for wrongdoings.

How wonderful it is for our hearts and minds to totally abandon themselves from the thinking that sought only personal gain! Yielding our lives to Christ is what John wrote about in his gospel: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Our nature is to always attempt the gathering of more and more as we step into every new day. The wiser we become, we then can question our selfish motives.

What a wonderful event it can be for each of us to lay down the sword of selfish greed and to “join the triumph of the skies” that takes whosoever will one day to Heaven!

The second verse gives more of the Savior to our thoughts:

“Christ by highest heav’n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of the virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail th’ incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Immanuel.”

Luke writes in 1:27 that the angel Gabriel is sent by God into a city named Nazareth: “To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.” Gabriel tells Mary in verse 30: “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.” He then drops the amazing truth down to Mary by informing her: “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus” (verse 32). He tells her “and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (verse 33). Her obvious question is “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (verse 34), and Gabriel assures that “the power of the highest shall overshadow thee” and “that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (verse 35).

Our song records next in verse three:

“Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace,
Hail the Son of righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n 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.”

The Lord Jesus came to earth from Heaven so that any of us who accept Him as personal Savior and are truly born into the second birth can then be one day taken from earth to live forever in Heaven.

Jesus could only give us the gift of eternal life in Heaven if He had died for the payment of each of our sins on the cross as He was crucified. That is the amazing truth that should be a great thankfulness for each of us who have received and forever into eternity as we sing with the angels.

What we then need is the reinstatement more deeply into His love, as Wesley recorded in the fourth verse:

“Come Desire of nations, come!
Fix in us Thy humble home:
Rise, the woman’s conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head;
Adam’s likeness now efface (erase),
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.”

The chorus:

“Hark the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.”

That same glory which Charles Wesley wrote about, and that Mendelssohn and Cumming put into a glorious song, should be sung in our hearts. If you have never received the instatement back into God’s love, accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior! It is then that you too are reconciled in His love.