25 Carols of Christmas • Day 1
Week 1 • Day 1

“Angels We Have Heard on High”


By
  • Alan Lynch

“Angels We Have Heard on High”

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and peace to men with whom He is pleased.’”

Luke 2:13-14

The announcement of the birth of Jesus Christ by the angels to the shepherds is the theme of “Angels We Have Heard on High,” which is often heard during the Christmas season. The Latin chorus “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” literally means“Glory to God in the highest.”

Angels played an important role in communicating the coming of Christ to all of humanity. Angels first announced to Zacharias that his barren wife Elizabeth would bear a son who would be the forerunner to the Messiah. Mary and Joseph received direct announcements, each individually, from an angel regarding Mary being the mother of God’s Son (Luke 1:26-27, Matthew 1:20).

And when Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, telling them the good news of the birth of “Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:8-11).  In Luke 2:13-14, it says “and suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and peace to men with whom He is pleased.’” This is the crescendo of all history to this point!

A multitude of heavenly host indicates an angelic number too large to count. And they were all giving God glory for giving His Son to be our Savior. This is heavenly worship and a glimpse into the priority of the angels. The angels were praising God for His redeeming grace for sinful humans. Glorifying God is the privilege of all of mankind and the angels forever as seen in Revelation 4-5.

Listen to the story line of this beautiful hymn of worship. The first stanza begins with the angelic announcement and the praise of the angels. And the result is in the chorus of praise and worship! 

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

The second verse inquires as to the reason for their joy and what inspires the heavenly song. And this is followed with a proclamation of the glory of God.

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

Then the third verse closes with an inspiring invitation for all to come and see the Savior, Jesus Christ, and join in proclaiming Him as King. We will all give glory to God in the heavens for His precious expression of grace to sinful man.

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

Remember this Christmas that many eyes are focused on a baby in the manger, so use this opportunity to share with family and friends, neighbors and associates the “good news of great joy which shall be for all people…There has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). We can glorify God for bringing peace to those who come to Him in faith. Worship to our Father in heaven should be the focus of our hearts and lives as we thank Him for the precious gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Our family wishes your family a very Merry Christmas! Glory to God in the highest!


Staff Bio

Alan Lynch

Minister of Pastoral Care & Missions

Alan has a passion to minister to and assists the body of Christ to experience God’s fullest blessings. He is passionate about the great commandment and the Great Commission. Alan and his wife, Janna, have three adult children and three grandchildren.


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