December 05, 2022

Christmas and Advent Hymns and their Story

“Hark the Glad Sound”

As was typical of his several hundred hymns, Philip Doddridge [1702-1751] wrote “Hark the Glad Sound” for his congregation to sing in connection with one of his sermons. This hymn was used on December 28, 1735, on “Christ’s Message” from Luke 4:18-19 – that is on the preaching of Jesus in His hometown of Nazareth.
Even though it was written during the Christmas season, “Hark the Glad Sound” finds a place in Advent due to it’s emphasis on the coming of the Savior and the voice that announces this coming. For preaching – not only the preaching of John the Baptist [Luke 3:3-6], but the Lord’s own preaching in the flesh [Luke 4:17-19] – is the glad sound by which the Old Testament Scriptures are fulfilled.
It is by the preaching of this Good News that those held in bondage are set free; Isaiah 40:2 – “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” For Christ the Lord bears all the burden and the weight, and He suffers all the broken-ness and the bloody death of sin, in order to release the prisoners of Satan and grant them the peace of heaven; Isaiah 52:2 – “ Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.”
We sing the same songs of praise every time we join in worship at our Lord’s house. Indeed, that song rings out, on earth as it is in heaven, wherever the Gospel is preached.

Hark the glad sound! The Savior comes, the Savior promised long;
Let ev’ry heart prepare a throne and ev’ry voice a song.

LSB 349

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