“Angles We Have Heard on High”

18 Dec

“Angels We Have Heard on High”

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heav’nly song?
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing
Come, adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord, the newborn King
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

See Him in a manger laid
Whom the choirs of angels praise
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid
While our hearts in love we raise
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Dear God, this has probably become the most ubiquitous Christmas hymn of our generation. If I were to survey all of the Christmas Eve services in our town, I would bet that over 90% of them would use this song. It is as much of a standard as “Silent Night” (which I’m saving for Christmas Eve).

So let’s see what we have here. First, I’ll just say that I love the idea of spending some time with the shepherds. In this song, the angels show up in the first verse and I presume we are singing from the shepherds’ perspective because they are the ones who heard the angels singing o’er the plains.

Next, a part of the story that is often overlooked is how the shepherds went throughout Bethlehem telling people what they had seen the night before. Did they start singing too? The writer of this hymn seems to think they did.

The third verse is apparently the shepherds inviting people to come to Bethlehem to see what they just heard the angels singing about. And they recognize the baby is to be worshipped because they call him Christ and of the bended-knee part. And I just made sure that in Luke 2:11 the angel does, indeed refer you Jesus as the Messiah.

As far as verse four goes, I’ve always liked the idea that the shepherds’ arrival and story would be a great affirmation to Mary and Joseph, who had to be scared and insecure about how this night had turned out. Personally, I can think of several times that you have given me an affirmation that I’ve needed

Father, as I close, I have an old friend from my Waco days who is in the hospital for intestinal blockage. Please be with him. Be with the doctors. Heal him. Clear the blockage and make him as comfortable as possible. Strengthen his wife and his children. Give them encouragement and affirmation in the midst of this trial. Help them to tangibly feel your presence.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on December 18, 2019 in Christmas Hymns, Hymns and Songs



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