For me it was the time I walked into my house, I was about 24 years old and my wife had made some dinner for me after I got home from work. That was pretty cool. I walked into my bedroom and on the bed was a figurine of a father holding a child. I thought to myself “that is pretty cool” and when I turned around my wife said “congratulations”. We both cried and were super excited and a little scared, at the same time.
Those moments of good news coming to us are brought by people… these people are heralds of the great news God has for us in our lives. We see this kind of news delivered by Angles lots of times in the Bible. This is where we get some of our Christmas songs?
Do you like Christmas Songs? Why or why not?
I do. Like a lot….
I probably start listening to Christmas Carols as early as… actually I listen to Christmas Carols all year long. The reason for me is simple. Christmas an Easter are something I celebrate all the time.
So why tell all of you this? Because it’s Christmas!
One of the songs I wanted to talk about today is Angels We Have Heard on High. It’s a beautiful song that I remember singing as a kid and one I love watching little kids sing…
Why do you think I’d like that?
Because of the one refrain that goes like this “Gloria, in excelsis deo “. Kids go nuts on that part. I love that. In excelsis deo is latin and means “glory to God in the highest”.
This song literally takes the words right out of the bible and sins them. The words in Luke chapter 2:14 is “Glory to God in the Highest” and it’s an Angel that comes to the Shepherds to tell them this.
“The entire hymn is a traditional French carol that originated as early as the eighteenth century, and was published in North America in Nouveau recueil de cantiques (New Hymnal) for the Diocese of Quebec in 1819. Several versions, or translations, of the text can be found, but they all stem from the same source and are inspired by Luke 2:6-20.” The original hymn appeared in French – “Les anges dans nos campagnes” – in eight stanzas arranged in a dialogue form alternating between the shepherds (Bergers) in stanzas one, three, and six, and the women (Femmes de Bethlehem) in stanzas two, four, and seven. All sing together in stanzas five and eight. The carol first entered into Methodist hymnals in 1935 in an anonymous version from the play, The Nativity. It uses the text, “Hearken all! what holy singing now is sounding from the sky!” The melody is the same, but the harmonization was modified in the 1966 Methodist Hymnal by the well-known anthem composer Austin C. Lovelace (1919-2010). The 1966 Methodist Hymnal also changed the text to “Angels we have heard on high” because of the popularity of the text used in anthems at the time.”
Some Bible Stuff Now…
Luke 2:1-14 (NIV)
2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Question: What are some things that stand out to you from these bible verses?
Here are some things that stand out to me:
We will hear good news on the path of following God. (vv. 1-4)
When I think of Joseph traveling to Bethlehem, I'm confronted with whether or not I would be so obedient to God in that scenario. When you really think about it, it is a huge deal that Joseph even went through with this marriage. Both he and Mary were committed to God and God blessed them in an amazing way.
Question: How do you think Joseph felt about taking his pregnant wife to Bethlehem? Would you have done it?
God honors those who humbly & faithfully follow him. (vv. 5-7)
Joseph and Mary were incredibly blessed even though they had nothing and nowhere to put their baby. That is such a huge thought for us today because it confronts the consumerism that is in our hearts. Today people define being honored by God with what personal looks, fancy cars and houses. This is not the way of our Lord.
Question: How hard do you think it was for Mary (she was super young) to have her baby in a manger (a horse trough).
Shepherds were important enough to God for Him to send Angels to herald the good news. (vv. 8-12)
I'm always amazed that God cared about letting the shepherds in the fields know. I would've called my parents and best friends... maybe we mean more to God than we know. Maybe God loves us so much that He would give His son... you've heard the verse.. If not go read John 3:16. The point is God loves humanity so much and resonates with humble people in a way we cannot comprehend. That is an encouragement for us to stay humble.
Question: Who do you think, today, God would share this good news with?
Good news deserves a good delivery. (vv. 13-14)
I don't know how you share the good news of the coming of Christ. Friends when I have good news, I celebrate in a powerful way. I pray you too will celebrate the good news of the great joy... that.. Jesus brought and brings today.
Question: How can you help get this good news out to people you know?
Pray: Take some time to pray about all that God is doing in your life, thank God for all that He has done, and pray for some people you think God would like you to share this good news with.