Hark the Herald Angels Sing: A Christmas Devotional

Saturday Morning Devotional – 3rd in the Song Series

As we continue to look at the lyrics of some of our favorite Christmas songs, let’s look at “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” I think you will see many references to salvation in these lyrics.

This Christmas carol is another of my favorites, and it is mostly because of the lyrics. This song has so many references to salvation and the reason Christ came to us. We could actually spend several weeks on just this one song.

I will keep it short, but hopefully you will see these salvation references as we look at “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” this Christmas season.

A Brief History of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

Charles Wesley wrote “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” in 1739. One source (Hymnary.org) said that he wrote this song within one year of his conversion. You can hear the excitement in his writing!

George Whitefield rewrote the song in 1754 and then again in 1782. These are the lyrics we sing today. The music is by Felix Mendelssohn, taken from a cantata he wrote in 1840.

Lyrics of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

The lyrics of this song are public domain, so I will share all of them. Read them carefully.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

(First Stanza)

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 host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

reconciled - Hark the herald angels sing

(Second Stanza)

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

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

Immanuel from Hark the Herald Angels Sing

(Third Stanza)

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.

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

set aside Hark the Herald Angels Sings lyrics

Two More Verses

Last week when we looked at the song, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” I mentioned that my favorite verse is not in a lot of the songbooks and hymnals. “Hark the Herald Angel Sings” actually has two verses that are not in a lot of hymnals or songbooks.

In fact, I remember singing the fourth verse last year for the first time. I definitely had to follow along in the hymnal.

Here are the other two verses:

(Fourth Stanza)

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.
Now display thy saving Pow’r,
Ruin’d Nature now restore,
Now in Mystic Union join
Thine to Ours, and Ours to Thine.

hark the herald angels sing lyrics

(Final Stanza)

Adam’s likeness, LORD, efface,
Stamp Thine Image in its Place,
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy Love.
Let us Thee, tho’ lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the Inner Man:
O! to All Thyself impart,
Form’d in each Believing Heart.

His image from Hark the herald angels sing

Favorite Lyrics

There are so many great lyrics that stand out to me in this song, so I just highlighted them in bold so you could read them all. Read them carefully and think about the meaning.

I believe the message of the song is that He laid aside His Glory to come to earth as a human for our redemption! No wonder we sing, “Glory to the new-born King!”

Listen to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

There are many version of this song with a variety of verses. This classic by Nat King Cole is still one of my favorites! Click here to listen to it.

Related Posts

Lessons from the Christmas Star
My Top 11 Christian Songs of Hope and Restoration
Lessons from the Christmas Inn Keeper

As we sing the lyrics of this song and many others in these next few weeks, let’s pay close attention to the meaning of what we are singing. It will mean so much more to us! Then when Christmas Day arrives, we can truly celebrate the Savior’s birth.

Please share other Christmas carols that have special meaning to you.

Until next week…

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“Let the whole earth shout to the Lord; be jubilant, shout for joy, and sing.” Psalms 98:4

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  1. My favorite Christmas song
    Best part “Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.”.
    Jesus willingly left perfect heaven to live among us imperfect people…people who would eventual not believe Who he is and kill him. Yet, he came. That’s love

  2. So exciting to learn more about these songs, Susan. This is definitely one of my favorites and I look at it in a completely different way now. Love this series sweet friend, CoCo

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