Charles Wesley originally wrote “Hark how all the welkin rings, “Glory to the King of kings!” soon after his evangelical conversion in the late 1730’s. He wanted the tune sung to “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” Then George Whitefield came along and fancied up the song with these crazy lyrics that said, “Hark the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!” To make matters worse, George cut out about 4 of Wesley’s verses (note: the abridged version no longer has some of the Arminian emphases Wesley originally intended). While George’s remix is the popular version that helped this song stand the test of time, Charles Wesley refused to sing any version but his own until the day he died.
P.S. A “welkin” is an archaic term for “the heavens,” while a “webkin” is a toy lots of boys have enjoy but don’t want other people to know they own.
Special shout out to Steve M. for helping me to see the humor in John the Baptist as a Christmas character.