“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host
appeared with the angel,
praising God and saying, “Glory to God in
the highest, and on earth peace to men
on whom his favour rests.”
Luke 2:14 (NIV)
One of the most prolific hymn writers in the history of the Christian Church was an Anglican priest by the name of Charles Wesley (1707-1788).
Charles very famous brother and fellow priest in the Anglican Church, John Wesley wrote great verse as well. His family were prominent Christians in their time and did much to further the preaching of the Gospel.
Charles and John published hymnals of their verse and put several Scripture texts after every line, thus showing how very biblical the thoughts were.
People came to know the teaching of the Bible by singing the hymns of the Wesley brothers.
Charles excelled in writing poetry while John came to the fore as a preacher. Charles output was truly remarkable for any English poet of any age.
Although Charles had various quirks about his way of living, he had an incredibly tender heart for those who suffered. He cared for his people with great compassion and faithfully attended all who were struggling with life.
There is a story of his favourite sister Hetty whose adult life was full of sorrow and pain. She had a child before getting married and was then forced by her overbearing father to marry a man intellectually inferior to her and who mistreated her. She became ill in her 30’s and Charles and John both mourned her death greatly.
Charles used the text from Isaiah 60:20 for the funeral sermon he preached. It reads, “…the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.” (NIV) So Charles Wesley who wrote “Hark the herald angels sing.” knew great sorrow in his own life and had a tender heart for others who suffered.
Find a hymnal today and read the words of this grand hymn or recite them to yourself if you have them memorized. We are called on in Scripture to sing in our hearts to the Lord and praise Him frequently as we go through each day. Some of the greatest of all hymns focus on Christmas, the first coming of our Lord and Saviour.
Perhaps Christmas and its message does not cheer your heart today. I pray that you will soon be lifted above the sorrows you bear and find the joy of praise to the One who came so humbly and offered Himself as a sacrifice for sinners. Praising Jesus will lift the spirits of all who sing His glory. Worship Him in song this week. Give “Glory to God in the highest.”