Hark the Herald Angels Sing


Something for an Advent 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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  1. I’d have it tied with “Come all ye faithful”–both songs that you can just flat out belt and let out all the joy of the season.

    Oddly, the best version I’ve heard of “Come All Ye Faithful” was by…twisted sister. The guys who wore really silly-bad drag to perform. But they sang like they MEANT it.

  2. Foxfier- “Oddly, the best version I’ve heard of “Come All Ye Faithful” was by…twisted sister.”

    That cracks me up. No, I haven’t heard it from twisted sister, but the imagery was getting the best of me just now.

    Now I have to go find it on the you tube link.
    Twisted Sister….(still shaking my head.)

  3. I just watched it on you tube.
    Music video style.

    Honestly….I don’t know what to say.
    I wasn’t sure if they were mocking the hymn or just doing it there way. Regardless, so many different ways to praise God I suppose.
    Heavy metal style isn’t my way but it doesn’t mean it isn’t good….

  4. Charles Wesley, who he and his brother John founded the Methodist church, spinning off the Church of England as they realized that church lost its way… Oh why didn’t they look toward the Catholic Church?

  5. Philip–
    I have to remind myself of that with the music at our new parish. A lot. They’re fans of the “slow everything down, drone it out, and if it’s upbeat it will be in Spanish at random points, probably involving maracas.” It works for some folks, I suppose….
    Blond singer guy is apparently Jewish enough that some reporter asked him how he could do a whole CD of Christmas songs, including flatly religious ones.

    He pointed out that they are celebrating a Jew’s birthday, after all….

    The longer video shows the gal being a personification of Fake Christmas Spirit; it works alright, but I think it detracts from the song itself.

  6. Foxfier…

    And, at the end of the clip, woman in red pulls out a Twisted Sister guitar pick…from her cleavage mind you. (?)

    Twisted Sister. I guess the name says it all.

    Merry Twistmass to you.

    Oh…what is your favorite Mass. Do you like an upbeat guitar praise team ensemble type Mass? One exist near by, but the drummer pounding away doesn’t help me to experience the peace Christ provides, especially at Holy Mass. I’m just an old fashioned Latin Rite parishioner.

    Twisted Sister…gesssh.

  7. Philip-
    I prefer a rather minimalist sort; the best was where we had a priest who actually chanted most of his lines, and we didn’t have a chorus, we had a lady with an electronic keyboard (usually set to a deeper organ tone) and the songs had to be something everybody could know OK, and the average person could sing without murdering. Lots of “Hail Holy Queen” and “Lord of the Dance” type songs:

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