Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Angels-baby--Jesus-Mary

The story of this joyous Christmas carol takes us around a few twists and turns on its way to our holiday doorstep. It meanders around the creation of a poem by Charles Wesley, the brother of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, and then winds its way to the music taken from a composition by Felix Mendelssohn more than 100 years after it was written, to its final destination as the upbeat rhythm and current lyrical version.

This lovely poem was written by Charles Wesley in 1739 with the original opening line beginning, "Hark how the Welkin rings". Welkin was a rarely used term for Heaven. George Whitefield an Anglican contemporary of Wesley, changed the line to the one we recognize today.

Then the poem experienced its musical journey, even at one time being sung to the tune of "New Britain," which most of us recognize as the tune of "Amazing Grace." Eventually the song landed upon Felix Mendelssohn's "Festgesang," paired to it by an English composer named William H. Cummings, and has enjoined that melody for what for most of us is eternity.

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