Luke 2:8-14 (text v. 14)
This morning I want to preach about the first Christmas song. The first Christmas song was not sung by a famous crooner, or a hip-hop artist, or rock star—the first Christmas song was sung by a heavenly choir of angels (read text).
This song was the first Christmas song—A song about the birth of Jesus Christ—The most amazing event in the history of the world up to that point.
I don’t know about you, but there is something about the songs of Christmas that brings me joy and makes me feel better when I hear them. Songs like…
Joy to the World
O Come all Ye Faithful
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
We Wish you a Merry Christmas The First Noel
How many of you have a favorite Christmas song? What is it? My personal favorite is “The Little Saint Nick” by the Beach Boys (just kidding!). Actually, my favorite is “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (#135).
Charles Wesley wrote this hymn in 1738 when he was 31 years old. He and his brother John Wesley were preachers and the founders of the Methodist Church movement.
Unlike most songs written today, the lyrics of Wesley’s hymns have great theological depth. For example, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain,” “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” “O, For A Thousand Tongues to Sing.”
He wrote “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” based on our Bible text. The majestic lyrics of this old hymn are filled with deep doctrinal truths. Let’s consider some of the Biblical truths we find in this great Christmas hymn:
I. It speaks of the MESSAGE of Christ’s birth.
The first stanza introduces what the song is about.
It is about GOD’S GLORY. “Glory to God in the highest” focuses our attention on the One who set these events in motion.
It is about GOD’S PEACE—Peace seems to be a pipe dream today. Conflict is everywhere— abroad… in the home… in politics… in society—Carjacking in the streets… road rage… school shootings, pushy Christmas shoppers, and on we could go.
Where is the peace the angels spoke of? It is found in Jesus. There can be no peace on earth, until men have peace with God. Jesus came so we could have “peace with God.”
It is about GOD’S MERCY— “…and mercy mild…” Mercy is when God withholds the punishment we justly deserve. God could have deserted us and left us to go on to self destruction and hell. But God, in “mercy mild,” sent Jesus Christ to come and make reconciliation for us so we could have peace and salvation.
It is about JOY! No wonder Wesley wrote: “Joyful all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies!” The greatest event in human history has just taken place. No greater joy than knowing Jesus.
II. It speaks of the MIRACLE of Christ’s incarnation.