December 3, 2016
The following is from a recent desiringGod.org post.
Join the Welkin Song
Charles Wesley (1707–1788), brother of John and one of the greatest hymn-writers in the English language, first published “Hark” in 1739, almost forty years before American independence. He titled it “Hymn for Christmas Day,” and it’s first couplet was
Hark how all the welkin rings
Glory to the King of Kings.
Welkin is olde English for the sky or heavens. Hark, of course, means listen or pay attention. So, in modern English, “Listen how all the sky rings.” The allusion is to the sky-ringing angelic multitude of Luke’s Gospel:
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)
Wesley’s friend, the great evangelist George Whitefield (1714–1770), then updated the lyrics, and most notably the opening couplet, almost twenty years later in 1758. It was Luke’s Gospel, with Wesley’s inspiration, and then Whitefield’s wordsmithing, that gave us the well-known lines today:
Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!
As you reflect on this well-known hymn, consider preparing your heart for celebrating this Christmas by utilizing this Advent devotional written by Brian Frost, senior pastor of Providence Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC. The Advent season officially begins , December 1st.
May this Christmas season bring you great joy as you celebrate the birthday of our King, “Listen how all the sky rings”.
Arkansas State Minister, Capitol Commission