Monday, December 12
God and sinners reconciled!
From Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
By Rev. Arlene Franks
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is a great Christmas song. You can belt it out with joy and enthusiasm, just like the Peanuts gang in A Charlie Brown Christmas.
But, interestingly enough, it didn’t start out that way. When Charles Wesley wrote the lyrics, he envisioned a much more somber tune. The carol that first appeared in the 1739 collection, Hymns and Sacred Poems, was sung to the tune of Christ the Lord Is Risen Today. In 1855, English musician William H. Cummings adapted Felix Mendelssohn’s secular music from Festgesang to fit the lyrics.
I’m grateful to Cummings for making that change! The words are so reflective of joy and awe, that I can’t imagine it any other way. “Listen!” the lyrics tell us. “Pay attention to what the angels are singing. A child is born—a newborn King, our Savior! We should rejoice in this birth!”
It goes on to tell us more reasons to be grateful; “With this child will come peace, with this child, mercy will be given; with this precious child, life will triumph over death and all people will be one in Christ!”
Can I hear a Halleluiah!? Can I get an Amen?! Why shouldn’t we be excited by this Good News? This is no time for mourning tones—whatever else is happening in our lives or in the world today, the Messiah has come!
Share the Good News enthusiastically with everyone you meet… you might just see some joy reflected back at you.
Prayer: O God of joy, God of life! Reconcile us to You we pray. Give us yet another chance to spread the wonderful news of Your presence in this world. Amen.