Unto you is born this day in the city
of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
In 1739 Charles Wesley wrote the lyrics to Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
In 1753 Wesley’s friend, George Whitefield, made alterations to the text, changing Wesley’s opening words, “Hark how all the Welkin rings, Glory to the King of Kings,” to the words with which we are familiar.
A century later, in 1855, William Cummings married the lyrics to music by the renowned Felix Mendelssohn—integrating the work of Wesley, Whitefield, and Mendelssohn into a place of prominence they would never have imagined. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is one of the Great Four Anglican Hymns.
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 th’ angelic host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Christ was born in Bethlehem—and in your heart.
And things have never been the same since.