Hark, the Herald Angels Sing!

At church this morning we sang the wonderful Christmas carol, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” What a great song!!

(I know! There are many kids wondering why God would name any angel “Hark.” But, that’s not what I want to talk about tonight.)

The poem was written by Charles Wesley. And, he got the song totally wrong.

Remember the lyrics? The song is about the angels announcing the arrival of the Messiah. And, the lyrics include amazing lines: “Joyful all ye nations rise,” and “Christ by highest heaven adored,” and “Jesus our Immanuel,” and “Glory to the newborn King.”

Inspiring words. Beautiful words of praise.

To accompany those memorable lyrics, Charles selected a tune that was slow in tempo and somber in tone. The happy and joyful tune that we know (written by Felix Mendelssohn) wasn’t linked to the lyrics until nearly 100 years later.  Charles’ tune just didn’t work and 100 years later someone fixed his error.

Just like Charles: sometimes we know exactly what we want to communicate, but our delivery method is poor. And, our message gets lost in the middle.

For instance:

  • Telling a friend that we care for her and then questioning her choice of a lunch entre negates the compliment.
  • Saying that we want to spend more time together as a family is hard to believe because we “zoned out” the rest of the evening reading email.
  • Sharing that we are cutting back on Christmas expenses to save money as we type out the message on our new cell phone makes others question our sincerity.

On the other hand, Charles Wesley didn’t intend to have his joyful song slow and sober; he just made a bad choice.  Like him, perhaps our good and loving messages get lost because we don’t do well communicating them.

This is when relationships matter.

We are so forgiving when a child cannot say the right words in the right order. When she was little, one of our dear granddaughters would pray, “Thank you, Lord, for all of the things You give us and for all of the things You do to us.” We would smile to each other as we thought about what God might really do to us if He did as we deserved! She was so sincere and we loved her; we never said a word because we knew her heart.

Maybe we can believe that those who love us will hear our hearts instead of just our words.

And, maybe we will be better listeners this year, too.


Jill (just one of God’s kids)

“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.” (Romans 8:26, The Message)


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