“Angels we have heard on high, singing sweetly o’er the plains. And the mountains in reply, echo back their joyous strains.”
Lest you think I’ve forgotten the joyousness of Christmas, I haven’t! In fact, there’s nothing that creates a deep-rooted exuberance like remembering that He is the reason for the season.
Angels sang. Shepherds left their flocks and, following the sound of heavenly singing, came to the site of His birth. Wise men from the East followed a significant light for long days and nights, perhaps even weeks or months.
The writer of this hymn then exhorts us to rejoice. “Gloria in excelsis Deo”. That chorus to the carol literally means in Latin, “Glory to God in the highest”. Exalt Him. Celebrate His birth.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary and Joseph, too. Having lived enough years and in enough places, I am sure there were plenty of wagging tongues: “Made pregnant from God? Yah right!” Or how about this, “Here we thought both Mary and Joseph were clean living folks!” Being able to be at peace and indeed, to rejoice, came from knowing without a doubt that they had heard His voice.
Yes, the manager is a significant symbol to the world but it’s also so much more. To those who do not realize the importance of His birth, that rustic cradle located in a dark cave often evokes warm, fuzzy feelings of family celebrations but let’s never forget to move beyond the manager to the hills and valleys of the land and, ultimately, to the cross of Calvary.
For us, sinners in need of a Saviour, the manager and every footfall to the cross is cause for constant celebration.
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Gloria in Excelsis Deo!”