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 the angelic hosts proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn king.”
(Charles Wesley)

Throughout Scripture, God used angels to bring people messages of warning and blessing. This much-loved Christmas hymn by Charles Wesely, “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing” gives a summary of the Nativity and extolls Christ for who His is and His purpose for coming. Although in Luke, the angels are described as saying,  “Glory to God in the highest” and not singing it, it must have been a magnificent heavenly display. Set to the music by Felix Mendelssohn, this hymn repeats the angels’ chorus of praise and joy.

Angels played a prominent role as God’s messengers of good news in the events surrounding Christ’s birth.

The angel Gabriel’s appearance and message to young Mary in Nazareth surprised her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of his father David.” Luke 2:30-32

Joseph wrestled with what he should do about his pregnant fiancée, Mary. “But while he thought about these things, behold and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.'” Matthew 1:20,21

In Luke 2:8-11, angels appeared to the shepherds caring for their flocks with the Savior’s first recorded birth announcement: “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'”

“And 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, goodwill toward men.” (v.14)

Christ by highest heaven adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel!

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn king.”

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun 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 us second birth.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King”

I’d like to share a recipe with you for Angel Cookies. I’m not sure why they’re called Angel Cookies, but they’re  simple to make and delicious.

Angel Cookies

1 cup sugar

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. cream of tartar

¼ tsp. salt

water

sugar

Beat together sugar and butter at medium speed until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beating well. Reduce speed and add flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Dip the top of each ball into water, then into sugar. Place balls on ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7 to 9 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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