Luke 2:13-14 (ESV)
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Do you know what was one of the hardest, smelliest, and most dangerous jobs in Jesus' time? If you said "shepherd" then you're right! Shepherds worked long hours and slept outside. They chased away dangerous animals and thieves, had to find water for themselves and the animals, and nursed the sheep back to health when they were sick. Even though their job was hard, shepherds didn't always get a lot of thanks. But God cares about everybody--shepherds included--and that's part of why we read in Luke that he sent his angels to shepherds to announce the birth of Christ! These particular shepherds were guarding the sheep at night when an angel appeared and told them about Jesus. Then, more angels appeared, and they sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." The Savior God had promised was coming--and that meant good news for even the smelliest of shepherds!
In Angels We Have Heard on High, we sing the story of the shepherds and we sing the song of the angels, "Glory to God in the highest." Although we don't know who wrote this carol, we do know that the song was originally French, written in the 18th century and translated into English around 1862. The carol speaks of hearing the angels' song echoing in the mountains, and then questions the shepherds about why they are so happy. Then it answers, and begs those who hear to come to Bethlehem to see King Jesus, about whom the angels were singing. The carol then invites us to imagine Jesus, lying in a manger, the Lord of heaven and earth whom even his earthly parents ought to worship. God could have sent Jesus' birth announcement to kings and queens all over the world, but instead, he sent it to shepherds. Singing this carol encourages us to praise the God who keeps his promises, and who cares about everybody, whether they are shepherds or kings or you or me.
Dear Lord, we thank You for always keeping your promises. We thank You that You care for each of us so much You came to Earth to bring us salvation. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.