Many of the song writers of old seemed to have a common goal . . . share the full gospel in song, making known the love of God as evidenced by the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of His Son, Jesus the Christ. “Angels From the Realms of Glory” is another one such song, based on Luke 2:13-14:
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
As you read the words, you’ll find the entirety of the gospel message in the few short verses with a common chorus that beckons us to “Come and worship.” Will you join me today?
Angels From the Realms of Glory
Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight over all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim the Messiah’s birth.
Chorus: Come and worship, come and worship
Worship Christ, the newborn King.
Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching over your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light: Chorus
Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star. Chorus
Saints, before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear;
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear. Chorus
Though an infant now we view Him,
He shall fill His Father’s throne,
Gather all nations to Him;
Every knee shall then bow down: Chorus
Writer James Montgomery was the son of Moravian missionaries; he was a devout Christian, and created nearly four hundred hymns while being an active participant in political and community affairs. On Christmas Eve in 1816, he printed the words to this carol in his newspaper, perhaps the most beautiful and least controversial “editorial opinion” he ever wrote. The poem was published in a collection three years later. It eventually was set to a melody by the blind publisher, composer and organist, Henry Smart, who dictated all his compositions to his daughter. Interestingly, shepherds tending flocks in the wintry hills of southern France had a custom of singing this song to one another on Christmas Eve.
Let’s not wait till Christmas Eve to sing the words of this chorus; let’s especially not wait till Christmas Eve to perform the words of the chorus. Let’s “Come and worship Christ the King” daily, not only in song but in every aspect of our lives. May we ever continue to “seek the great Desire of nations”, “watching long in hope and fear” till He “gather(s) all nations to Him” and “every knee shall bow down” in worship.
Father, what a glorious sight it must have been as the angels from glory proclaimed the birth of Your Only Begotten Son, beckoning all to come and worship! Lord, the words still ring true today as Your Spirit stirs in the heart of mankind beckoning us to “come and worship!” Glory to God in the highest! Amen and Amen!
© Jan Ross
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