The Worst and Best Carols

In an attempt to be less bah humbug this year, I would like to reflect upon the worst and the best carols. Start with the bad ones and then celebrate the best ever. 

I don’t like a lot of carols because they are sentimental, but the worst ones are those that perpetuate myths about the nativity. One introduces characters that don’t even exist in the story. No, there is no donkey, little or otherwise!

Some just get all the facts wrong. For example “We three kings of Orient are”. In the gospel of Matthew we are told that they are Magi, not kings. We are told that they brought three gifts but not that there were three of them. They certainly came from the east, but they were certainly not from the orient.

OK, rant over.

What of the best. Well, there is only one candidate in my list: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”.

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 host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n 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 them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

This is the real deal. It gives us the true meaning of Christmas. It gives us the theological meaning behind Christ’s coming. God and sinners reconciled by the incarnate deity, who is born that we no longer need to die, we are given second birth. That’s why we can join with the angels and sing “Glory to the newborn King!”