Growing up I always thought that hark was actually spoken by the angel somewhere in the gospels in one of the old translations. After researching the translations it is not in there. What I did find was some interesting information about the song, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, at http://www.carols.org.uk/hark_the_herald_angels_sing.htm .
Charles Wesley, the brother of John Wesley, wrote the song in 1739. He requested it to be sung to slow and solemn music. Probably like “Silent Night”. In 1840, Felix Mendlssohn wrote a cantata in honor of Gutenberg's printing press. William H. Cummings later took the cantata and made it fit to the lyrics written by Wesley. That is how it became what we know today.
The word hark means to pay close attention to. Let's look at the words of the angel that Charles Wesley wanted everyone to pay close attention to.
How fitting that the angel brings “good tidings of great joy, which will be for all people.” to the shepherds in the fields nearby. Being a shepherd was like being a garbage man today. It was no glorious job and they were often looked down upon. Even King David's brothers looked down on him when he offered to kill Goliath, he was the shepherd for their dad's flocks, small and wouldn't amount to much. They on the other hand were experienced warriors and wouldn't go up against such a giant. David proved them wrong, like God was proving the world's thinking wrong by taking this news to the shepherds. The angel's message was to all people not just the religious leaders, the wealthy, but to all. Even to the ones that society looked down upon. This “good tidings of great joy”, was given to the shepherds to share with everyone.
The news was the Christ, Savoir, Messiah was born. They would not find Him in a palace nor in a home. Like them, they would find Him in a lowly manger. Humble in means was the King of kings birth.
Click to Tweet: Not in Jerusalem were King David reigned but in Bethlehem where shepherd David grew up and watch over his father's sheep, was the Good Shepherd born.
Can you imagine if the shepherds were afraid of one angel, how the felt when a mutitude of angels appeared? Yet, how calming are the words, “peace on earth and good will toward men.” Peace ever elusive without the Savoir. Because the Savoir was born all mankind could now have peace with God. The good will that God had planned at the beginning of creation, the walking with Adam and Eve in the garden, talking with His creation could once again be enjoyed.
This is what Charles Wesley, wanted us to think about when he penned, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”. May the song have a new meaning to you this Christmas season.