Healing in His Wings
Charles Wesley’s Hark the Herald Angels Sing is one of my favorite carols. The third verse offers this encouragement: “Hail, the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Risen with healing in His wings.” The text is inspired by Malachi 4:2: “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.”
This foretelling is found in the last chapter of the Old Testament and is the final recorded prophecy about the coming of Jesus. Some versions of Hark the Herald Angels Sing use the word “son” of righteousness rather than “sun.” But the imagery of the sunrise is intentional. In the ancient world, the sunrise was a symbol of hope and new beginnings. The rays of the sun are the “wings” that extend to the earth, bringing warmth. This reminds me of camping in Colorado. The nights are dark and cold, but there is hope that those first rays of sunlight are going to bring a much welcomed warmth.
Jesus is our sunrise. He brings hope, healing, and powerful warmth. For the Christmas Eve candlelight services, the choir is going to sing a poem that says it this way:
Cold are the people,
Winter of life,
We tremble in shadows this cold endless night,
Frozen in the snow lie roses sleeping,
Flowers that will echo the sunrise,
Fire of hope is our only warmth, Weary, its flame will be dying soon.
Voice in the distance,
Call in the night,
On wind you enfold us you speak of the light, Gentle on the ear you whisper softly,
Rumors of a dawn so embracing,
Breathless love awaits darkened souls,
Soon will we know of the morning.
May God bless you with His hope and warmth this Christmas season.
Jill Schroeder-Dorn, Director of Worship Arts