1. What is the title of Charles Wesley's first collection of 18 Advent and Christmas hymns?
The correct answer is Hymns for the Nativity of our Lord, which was published in London in 1745. The collection was so popular that it was reprinted 20 times in Charles' lifetime. Wesley composed more than 6,000 hymns in his lifetime, which helped Methodists to both "understand their faith and live it in a really rich way," says The Rev. Paul Chilcote, a Wesley scholar, professor, and author of Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Advent and Christmas with Charles Wesley.
>> Listen to the podcast with Rev. Chilcote "Get your spirit in shape: Singing our faith at Christmas."
>> View and print the infographic "Christmas in the Hymns of Charles Wesley"
2. The final scene in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" shows the Peanuts gang singing which Charles Wesley hymn?
The correct answer is "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," first published under the title "Hymn for Christmas Day" in 1739. In "A Charlie Brown Christmas," Charles Schulz's main goal was to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. He desired to juxtapose this theme with interspersed shots of snow and ice-skating, perhaps inspired by his own childhood growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota.
>> Listen to the First United Methodist Church in Valdosta, Georgia sing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
>> Read more about the hymn at "Glory to the newborn King!" A Christmas hymn devotion
>> Read more about the 1965 production of "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
3. There are 49 hymns in the United Methodist Hymnal written by Charles Wesley, but only two are about Advent/Christmas.
The correct answer is true. "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" are Charles' only Advent / Christmas songs in the hymnal. Some of his other well-known hymns are "Christ the Lord is Risen Today," "Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise," "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling," and "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing."
>> Watch "Charles Wesley's Gift of Music"
4. Charles Wesley's Advent hymn "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" is about…
The correct answer is all of the above. As we sing Wesley's words, we enter into an ancient prayer. For hundreds of years, our ancestors in the faith prayed for the Messiah to come. While we have experienced times when God feels near, there are others seasons of struggle and doubt. Some of us have spent time wondering if God is still with us. So, we join this prayer today, "Come, thou long-expected Jesus."
>> Listen to the Polk Street United Methodist Church in Amarillo, Texas sing "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus"
>> Read more at "Born to set thy people free" A Christmas hymn devotion
5. Charles' original first line for "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" was "Hark, how all the welkin rings." What is a welkin?
The correct answer is the sky, where the angels were singing to herald the birth of our savior. Again, the Rev. Paul Chilcote explains, "The birth of Jesus in human history has a cosmic dimension, not just here in this world in our lives, but there's something much larger happening in this. It is something that leads all of heaven to celebrate in song."
>> Listen to the podcast with Rev. Chilcote "Get your spirit in shape: Singing our faith at Christmas"
6. One of the "O Antiphons" sung in the ninth century, this Advent hymn is still popular today.
The correct answer is "O Come, O Come, Emanuel," whose first draft started with "Draw nigh, draw nigh, Emmanuel." The human condition can, at times, be one of struggle, yet through faith, the spirit rises above even tragedy, and hope and love prevail as we prepare for the birth of Christ and a celebration of God's unconditional love.
7. Though not in today's United Methodist Hymnal, John Wesley considered this to be the best hymn in Charles' Christmas collection.
The correct answer is "All Glory to God in the Sky," which John loved because it encourages us to surrender control of our lives and allow the love of Christ to rule in our hearts. Charles wrote this song of peace because the peace of Christmas is not something only for a day in the past or some time in the future. It is something we can experience in our lives every day.
8. What is the first line of the third verse of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"?
The correct answer is "Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!" Charles Wesley's "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing" emphasizes the universal nature of Jesus' birth. In this baby, God has come to all people everywhere. In addition to celebrating with those closest to us at this time of year, we should also pause to remember how this blessed event is for the benefit of the whole world. We are called to share the good news with everyone.
9. This beautiful hymn is said to have been sung by English and German soldiers together in the Christmas truce of 1914.
The correct answer is "Silent Night," written by Josef Mohr and put to music by Franz Gruber in 1818. During the unofficial Christmas Truce, World War I German and British soldiers left trenches along the western front to bury the dead, sing songs and hymns, share food and drink and, famously, hold football (soccer) matches.
>> Listen to the Hockessin United Methodist Children Choir in Hockessin, Delaware sing "Silent Night."
>> Read how two Methodists churches commemorate the Christmas Truce of 1914.
10. John Wesley's "Directions for Singing" included which of these instructions?
The correct answer is all of the above. Wesley included his "Directions for Singing" in his book "Select Hymns," first published in 1761. Wesley's directions for singing were meant to offer practical ways the congregation and musicians could worship together. He warns, "beware of singing as if you were half-dead or half-asleep," but emphasizes above all else, "sing spiritually."