Day 14: Angels We Have Heard On High

by Dec 14, 2020Christmas 2020, Devotional, Songs of Christmas

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

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly, sweetly through the night
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their brief delight

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 heavenly song?

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing,
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

(Watch music from LP Worship)

One of my best friends in college grew up in Israel as a missionary kid, and once she casually let it slip in a conversation that her family’s Christmas Eve tradition was to sit in the mountains overlooking Bethlehem and sing Christmas songs. My jaw dropped the first time she told me this but to her it was just a typical holiday evening. Growing up in Israel and experiencing things like that many of us can only dream of felt like normal life. She said “I know a lot of people see Israel as a historical landmark or religious epicenter” but to her “I would describe growing up in Israel as home.”

The evening Jesus was born would have begun as a typical evening for the shepherds who also called Israel home. What started as a peace-filled evening under an expansive, star-studded sky ended with celestial shouts of praise and a hasty journey to Bethlehem. What magnificent sights and sounds to behold that night.

Imagine being a shepherd in the fields on the night Jesus was born. The immense sky above your herd of sheep suddenly filled with a great company of angels praising God and telling of the Savior born in Bethlehem. It may have been terrifying, but the news from the angel of the Lord was more important than the fright.

After the angel of the Lord proclaimed to the shepherds that baby Jesus was lying in a manager in the city of David, a choir of angels appeared saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” What a true glimpse of heaven on earth. 

“Gloria in excelsis Deo!” – the repeated phrase throughout “Angels We Have Heard on High” – is Latin for “Glory to God in the highest.” The angels knew of the majesty of our Savior’s birth, and they could not contain their praise. They wanted the shepherds to experience the same jubilee.  The shepherds then hurried off to Bethlehem to see Jesus, glorifying and praising God as they told whoever would listen about what they had just witnessed.

The shepherds’ reaction to the angels’ message is a reminder to all of us of the magnificence and grandeur of our Savior who entered this world as a baby. The shepherds in the fields that evening knew to glorify God. Even if we’ve never sat in the mountains overlooking Bethlehem or heard angels singing of God’s glory, we can experience the same joy and awe as the shepherds as we give Him the utmost glory for sending us His Son. 

Day 16: Silent Night

Silent night, holy night All is calm, all is bright 'Round yon virgin Mother and Child Holy infant so tender and mild Sleep in heavenly peace   Silent night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight! Glories stream from heaven afar; Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!...