“God and Sinners Reconciled!”

Angels at Rockefeller Center with herald trumpets

My pastor, Mike Braun, once said that all of America has heard the Gospel in Christmas carols. There’s hardly anyone who hasn’t heard “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” because it’s sung in two Christmas classics shown annually on television in the United States. In each classic the main character goes through a hard time with troubles and discouragement, and the carol is part of the ending of each film.

At the very end of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” George Bailey and his family and friends sing it in exuberant joy as they come together to save him from the threat of prison. It’s also sung at the very end of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” after the Peanuts friends have ego-clashed and scolded and gotten mad at Charlie Brown, but then finally realize that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of the newborn King, and they sing the carol in harmony and peace with each other after they come together to help him and his pitiful tree.

I wonder why that song was chosen. Was it the music? The lyrics? Both? Look at the lyrics. It’s first stanza proclaims, God and sinners reconciled.” Here is the Good News of Jesus Christ!

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

Christ by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the Everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the Incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen 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!”

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18–19

The angel decorations used every Christmas season at Rockefeller Center in New York City hold herald trumpets. In Midtown Manhattan in that secular city, they are symbols that proclaim, “Glory to the newborn King!” A silent reminder of God’s mercy and love.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:20–21

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree: Photo by Michael Vadon. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Rockefeller Center Angel: Family photo.
Until this year I’ve also used a video of a German flashmob singing, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Unfortunately, it’s been taken down for copyright reasons. If it’s restored, then I’ll include it again.

Copyright ©2018–2022 Iwana Carpenter

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