“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Have you ever had one of those albums where every single song on it is your favorite song? For me, around this time of year, it is Meredith Andrews’ Christmas album, Receive Our King. Last year around this time I introduced you to the first track on the album, Andrews’ version of Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. This morning as we continue in our Advent series, I want to share with you another from the same album (and, spoiler alert, I’m going to offer you one more from it next Friday which is going to be instrumental in our Christmas Eve service). What was it like being a shepherd in the fields around Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born? What was the song of the angels really like? Let’s ponder that together.
Watching sheep at night was probably boring. I mean, sure, you had to be on alert for predators looking to make a quick meal out of one of your flock, but other than that, you sat there. Awake. All night. Boring. I suspect that not a few shepherds became amateur astronomers. When you had little else to do than look at the stars – which, in a day without any sort of light pollution had to be absolutely incredible – you gradually became pretty familiar with them. You would have known all the regular constellations as well as all the ones you made up because you didn’t have anything else to do.
But then one night as you were staring at the sky…once again…suddenly the dark gives way to light. At least, that’s how Andrews puts it in her song, Glory in the Highest. And when the dark gives way to light, the reason is that an angel has appeared with the glory of the Lord shining around it. All you would be able to do is quake in wonder and fear, and listen as it speaks of the Messiah who was born for you today. Then, without warning, the night becomes like day as the hosts of heaven appear with the angel, all of them singing praises to the newborn King and the God who has sent Him. And as their song filled your heart and mind, any doubt and fear still lingering there were overwhelmed with joy and an insistent desire to see this baby.
Imaging such a moment as this is hard, but this song gives us some help in that direction. May your own heart burst with joyful praise this morning as we keep counting down the days to Advent’s end and Christ’s arrival.