Suspiciously Christmas-like decorations have begun to appear again in Jerusalem neighborhoods, parks and malls, though fewer than in the recent past thanks to the world’s most pervasive virus. But one will not typically hear Christmas music in public, especially not religious hymns. In a recent seasonal sermon, at Grace Community Church, a non-denominational evangelical church in Sun Valley, California, Senior Pastor John MacArthur reminded his congregation that his all-time favorite hymn had been written by a Methodist. Most everyone under heaven is by now at least passingly familiar with that favorite, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
In the same sermon, MacArthur shared some of the carol’s fascinating history (and there was, of course, much more to be found on the web). The music we now all know didn’t take form overnight. Over the course of a century, four Methodist ministers, an eventual voice professor at the British Royal Academy of Music and a German-Jewish Christian savant all collaborated—though unwittingly—to create what has become one of the world’s most popular carols, during which welkin became angels and a slow and somber tune turned upbeat.[Read more…]
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