After yesterday’s contemporary Christmas song, I feel the need to break out with something more traditional.
As previously stated in this blog, I do enjoy a bit of communal singing. Actually, I enjoy singing full stop.
When it comes to communal singing, in my opinion, there is nothing better than communal singing at Christmas time. The gathering at the local park, the cool breeze picking up as the dusk fades away and the wax from the candle you’re holding starting to drip onto your hand.
Well, perhaps not so much the wax scalding, but everything else is a winner.
Angels get a bit of a mention at Christmas time. They pop up in a few places: Gabriel visits Mary, an angel of the Lord speaks to Joseph in a dream and then there’s a choir full of them for some shepherds out in the field on the night that the Christ child is born.
Angels on high. Angels we have heard on high (apparently).
I definitely enjoy singing this carol, because any song with long notes, an undulating melody and lyrics in Latin is ticking lots of my boxes. But what exactly does Gloria in Excelsis Deo mean?
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.” Luke 2:13-14
Glory to God in the Highest – that’s what it means.
I reckon a whole host of angels would make me wet myself in fear. It seems a rather terrifying prospect and strange way to announce the arrival of a baby. Yet, I guess it’s the supernatural version of a flash mob, so it’s a decent way to get people’s attention when you’ve got important news to share:
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12
I like how the angel said that this joy is ‘for all people’ as well as saying that this news brings peace to those ‘on whom his [God’s] favour rests’. Putting those two sentences together makes it clear – there’s no favouritism with God. The baby Jesus is for everyone.
Shepherds were no one special back then, but the angels appeared to them in the fields to give the birth announcement. They didn’t go visit a priest or elder in the temple; just some shepherds.
Maybe it’s because the shepherds knew exactly what to do when they heard the news:
The shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off…
Christmas is all about looking for Jesus. The signs are everywhere at this time of year – quite literally. Hopefully God won’t terrify you with a bunch of singing angels (he could if he wanted to…). However, even if he does, we all have the choice to respond like the Shepherds did or ignore the signs.
Jesus is for everyone. And just like long ago we’ve been told where he’s “hiding.”
Why not go find him?
Yours in seeking,