Countdown to Christmas: Day 16. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
ris'n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise the sons of earth,
born to give them second birth.
There's an overlooked line in this classic: "Risen with healing in His wings." It's taken directly from the last book in the Old Testament. The first verse of Malachi 4: "The Lord of Heaven's Armies says, 'The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all."
The writer pairs arrogance and wickedness, which is interesting. I know arrogant people I wouldn't call evil, but selfishness drives wrongdoing in all of its forms. People who, over the course of a lifetime, set their agendas against God's will face serious judgment.
Fortunately, the writer doesn't stop there. Malachi adds, "But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture." Those who submit their hearts and wills to God will experience the fullness of His mercy.
The all-consuming, wrath-dispersing Lord of Heaven's Armies and the healing, liberating, joy-inspiring Sun of Righteousness are the same Jesus. He's not a Jekyll/Hyde deity, flip-flopping between light and dark dimensions. He's the singular Prince of Peace; his presence is experienced differently by different people in different moments. Our posture in relationship to Jesus determines our perspective of Christ.
The Christ of Christmas lays His glory by, so we can be spared divine punishment on judgment day. Rather than delivering destructive fire, the Sun of Righteousness cauterizes our soul wounds with the healing in said wings. We call on angels to sing at Christmas because God is bringing light, life and freedom to us. When we taste this joy, we exit the encounter bounding with joy.
What's got you all tangled up this season? Where are you feeling trapped?
What kind of healing do you require? Physical? Emotional? Psychological? Spiritual?
If you need healing this season, ask the Christ who came to offer it to us.
The Prince is here with the restoring peace you require; the Sun has come to shine restoring righteousness on us.