It's Christmas Time!
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” Luke 2:13, 14
“Imagine the chill of the winter wind on a brisk, clear night…the warmth of a crackling fire and the company of family and friends as you delight in holiday cheer and glorious treasures from the kitchen! Ah, THIS IS CHRISTMAS!” Foreword from This Is Christmas, Holiday Favorites for the Christmas Choir.
The angels who sang at Bethlehem were the very first Christmas carolers. The hillside echoed the angels’ music announcing Christ’s birth, “Gloria in excelsis Deo” they sang. The Shepherds, who heard the song, repeated it as they hurried to the manger. The early Christian Church sang carols, and Christians down through the ages have echoed their joy.
Carols were first sung in America in 1645, at the Huron Mission, and even the freezing cold could not dampen the ardor of those Christians celebrating Christmas. As time went on, more and more Christmas carols were written, until today there are hundreds of Christmas carols, some well-known and some lesser known.
Before the invention of printing presses, Christmas carols became a way for ordinary people to remember the beauty and the truth of that first Christmas, a way to remember the Savior’s birth, and a way of passing down The Story from one generation to the next. Creator Magazine, May/June 1995
The year was 1739. The text of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing first appears in the John Wesley collection of Hymns and Sacred Poems. Written by John’s brother Charles Wesley, it was written as a Hymn for Christmas Day. The original hymn began with the line “Hark how all the Welkin rings” but was changed by George Whitefield in his 1754 Collection of Hymns for social worship. It was further revised to include the repetition of the opening line, as it is commonly sung today.
Charles Wesley had envisaged the song to be sung to the same tune as his Easter song Christ the Lord Is Risen Today and in some hymnals that tune is included. However in 1855, English musician William H. Cummings adapted Felix Mendelssohn’s secular music from Festgesang to fit the Charles Wesley lyrics. Wikipedia
Please plan to join us in Praise and Worship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this Sunday December 8th at 11:00am as the Chancel Choir sings the Mack Wilberg arrangement of this beautiful, traditional hymn.
Until Next Time….See you in the Choir Loft!
(This blog post was written by a contributor and the comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.)