During one Christmas season, my big brother dated a girl named Gloria. Being twelve years younger, I did what all annoying little sisters would do: I belted out the chorus to “Angels We Have Heard On High” whenever he was around. “Glooooo-Ooooo-Oooooo-ria!” Although Gloria didn’t last long as a girlfriend, I still love singing that chorus. The melody makes you want to really let go.
The hymn writers all seem to agree that the angels sang that holy night.
“The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.”
“This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing.”
“Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation; O sing all ye citizens of heaven above.”
“Glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing Alleluia.”
“Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King.”
“The shepherds feared and trembled when lo! above the earth, rang out the angel chorus…”
And of course, “Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plains.”
Yup, the angels must have been singing. Or were they? I hate to burst any bubbles, but Luke 2:13 states, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying….” I know. It just doesn’t seem right. This is where the “Halleluia Chorus” is supposed to come in. There has to be music. Every epic scene has a soundtrack.
Hoping to find a way to wiggle out of this, I looked up the Greek translation for the word “say”. I was sure it probably meant, “to say, or sing”. Alas, the word is the equivalent of “to speak, or tell”. Not much wiggle room there.
I have two theories on this: First, in heaven, angelic voices are so beautiful that their talking has a lilt and a resonance that sounds musical. My second theory is that the shepherds were tone deaf.
Going with the first one.
Have you read the book “Heaven is For Real”? It’s about a little boy who went to heaven and back during a very serious sickness. He tells of seeing angels and that Jesus had the angels sing to him because he was so scared….the angels made him feel better. Sounds like an eye-witness account of singing angels to me!
Yes! That’s a good book. The Bible talks about the angels singing at creation and again in Revelation, so I’m sure they sang inbetween, too. I’ve been trying to read the Christmas story like it’s brand new and realizing it doesn’t always line up with the movie versions. Like, it says nothing about Mary riding a donkey! How would a 9 month pregnant woman ride a donkey anyway? Maybe a wagon! Not important details really. Just interesting! How’s the sun?!
True, we take the story for granted as we have heard/seen it for so long. Good to take a fresh look at it. And you are right, riding a donkey when 9 months pregnant would not be a fun way to travel. Maybe Katie can give it a trial run in a few weeks and let us know how it goes! It’s warm and sunny here with a bit of rain in between — we were barefoot and in shirt sleeves this evening! Takes a while to get all systems working and settled in. Downside is that they do not run the Packer and Badger games on tv down here.
Now every time I sing that song I am thinking of you singing that song to your brother and it makes me smile! 🙂
Might have been something like this…
Made me laugh, was thinking of all your many Christmas pageants over the years!
Love it! We just had our kids’ program on Sunday so I am recovering! Merry Christmas to you my friend. God’s blessings on your 2012!