This Christmas, I find myself returning again and again to the carol: Angels from the Realms of Glory. I ‘hear’ it in my head, I sometimes catch myself humming it, I was even whistling it one day! But I never sing it (except during church) because I know the music, not the words.
Today I actually looked it up in our hymnal (#220). And now I love this song even more!
As a pastor, I get tired of songs or poems or readings that just tell you something… but that’s it. You know, the reading done because it’s this holiday or that and Mrs. McGillicuddy likes to have that 52 stanza poem read every year on that day. Or the song that says “I can’t wait until I can tell you about my special day…” and then never does tell you about it.
This song is SO different from those descriptions! First of all, it is a story song… almost a ballad kind of idea. If you take all the verses of this song, you have the high points of a complete story (in this case, of Jesus’ birth). This isn’t one of those songs where you can easily get away with just singing the first and the last verse! Or you’ll miss a big piece of the story!
Secondly, I like the way the song is actually addressed to someone. While many hymns and ‘churchy’ songs are addressed to God, many times they aren’t. Think of ‘How Great Thou Art’ where the whole thing is addressed to God, as opposed to a song like ‘Amazing Grace’ which speaks about God and God’s grace.
This song is aimed at those that will encounter God… It is addressed to the angels who were in the primary role of being spectator, to the shepherds who were in their usual role of being the outcasts, the sages (or wise men) who were the intellectual (and probably even rich!) people of their day, and the saints… which is the very term the apostle Paul used whenever he spoke of people who followed Jesus and accepted him as their Lord and Savior. THAT’s US!!! We encounter God, through the birth and life of Jesus, in just the same ways that those shepherds, angels, and even sages did. We come and we worship him. We give him the gift of our attention and our presence. We make him more important than anything else.
This Christmas, I pray that we all come to a deeper understanding of OUR role in the Christmas story. The angels, the shepherds, the wise men, and even the Holy Family itself are all incomplete without us… the ones who believe in Jesus and accept Him as OUR Lord and OUR Savior. We are part of the Christmas story!
And thousands of years later, the invitation still calls out to all…
“Come & Worship…
Come & Worship…
Worship Christ The Newborn King!”
Christmas Eve service starts at 7:00 on Dec. 24th… Come & Worship With us!