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.