Charles Wesley, a prolific hymn writer, wrote several hymns for Advent and Christmas. Some we know and others are less familiar.
He composed the text of "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing" -- except its title line-- in 1734. Charles's original words were "Hark how all the welkin rings, Glory to the King of Kings!" George Whitfield proposed the line we know today when John Wesley was editing the hymn for inclusion in a collection of hymns he and Charles were producing, and John accepted Whitefield's suggestion. Charles's was more biblically accurate. The Bible nowhere records angels singing!
In 1744, Wesley published "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" in "Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord," a hymnal which was reprinted many times during Wesley's lifetime.
In "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus," Wesley wonderfully captured the anticipation of the people of Israel who longed hundreds of years for the coming of the Messiah. As we sing, we sense the words of the prophets calling the people to prepare the way of the Lord into history (Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 3:1-4), and into our hearts and lives. Read more about this beloved hymn.
Check out this Christmas Hymns Infographic to learn more about Wesley's Christmas hymns.
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