Christmas Hymns: What We Miss in the Latter Verses

images (38)Last year I did a post about what we miss when we only sing the first couple of verses of our beloved hymns.  I listed several of the third, fourth, or fifth verses of the hymns we know best to show that much of the time the most theologically-rich and beautifully-written verses are not found in verse 1 or verse 2.

Today I’m showing that the same is true of many of our favorite Christmas hymns.  May the Lord inspire worship!

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Verse 5

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

O Little Town of Bethlehem – Verse 3

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

The First Noel – Verse 8

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord;
That hath made Heaven and earth of naught,
And with His blood mankind hath bought.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – Verses 4 and 5

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophet-bards foretold,
When with the ever circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.


About Brent Osterberg

Ransomed sinner, husband to Keri, father to the kiddos three, associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Fort Worth, TX, and lover of most things epic. View all posts by Brent Osterberg

One response to “Christmas Hymns: What We Miss in the Latter Verses

  • James C. Elliott

    Now if someone could just do an article on the revisionist lyrics some hymnals — including the Episcopal 1982 — have foisted on us. I refuse to sing the ‘new’ lyrics. (“God rest ye merry, Gentlemen” to “Christian Friends; & “With true love and charity” instead of ‘brotherhood’. Indeed! I sing the original and get nods of approval from my pew-mates.)

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