"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" was originally titled "Hymn for Christmas Day" when Charles Wesley wrote it in 1739. The original first line was "Hark, how all the welkin rings," "welkin" being an Old English word referring to the heavens.

Fourteen years later, George Whitefield changed the line to the version we now know, and more than a century passed before the text was combined with Felix Mendelssohn's famous tune by a church musician named William Cummings, who noticed how well the two went together.