Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

For the ninth text of Christmas, this blogger gives to thee…

A deservedly well-known classic, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is rich with Advent theology. The first verse paraphrases Luke 2:14 and imagines the night sky the shepherds beheld. The second verse sings of the divine nature of Christ. The third verse triumphantly praises Jesus and summarizes his work.

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 th’angelic hosts 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 the Virgin’s womb:
veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Immanuel.

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 we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.

3 Settings

A modern worship version with the added “King of Heaven” refrain

A joyful performance from a Getty Sing conference

A traditional lessons and carols performance from King’s College Cambridge

3 thoughts on “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

  1. Wait wait, you left out the best verse! Come, Desire of nations, come!
    Fix in us Thy humble home:
    Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring seed,
    Bruise in us the serpent’s head;
    Adam’s likeness now efface,
    Stamp Thine image in its place:
    Final Adam from above,
    Reinstate us in Thy love.
    I especially like “stamp thine inage in its place”

    1. How interesting, I’d not seen this come up in the hymnals I explored, thank you! What a magnificent addition to the hymn’s already-rich Christology.

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